Why it matters: Through their Congressionally mandated State Wildlife Action Plans, state fish and wildlife agencies have identified nearly 12,000 species of fish, wildlife, and plants as “at-risk”. While sportsmen and women have long been the primary funders of conservation efforts, there simply is not enough funding to conserve all species in a proactive manner. As such, a 21st century funding mechanism is needed to complement the contributions of sportsmen and women.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) will provide nearly $1.4 billion annually in perpetuity for proactive, state-based conservation projects in every state, territory, and on tribal lands and waters. Through their State Wildlife Action Plans, which serve as a roadmap to each state’s unique conservation needs, state fish and wildlife agencies have collectively identified nearly 12,000 species as “species of greatest conservation need”.
Last week, the House Natural Resources Committee (Committee) held a hearing to consider the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. As a top legislative priority, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a written statement for the record urging the Committee to support the bill.
CSF has been a driving force behind RAWA since its inception as a member of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources, which is now represented by the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife – a diverse coalition who is advocating for the passage of this historic piece of legislation. Since the bill was first proposed in 2016, CSF’s President and CEO Jeff Crane has served as legislative co-chair of the Alliance and continues to help navigate this legislation through the halls of Congress.
By acting now, Congress can conserve these species before more costly and burdensome measures are necessary.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act now awaits further consideration by the House Natural Resources Committee.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?