By Zach Widner, Northwest States Senior Manager
On March 14, the Idaho Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) hosted an informational briefing for legislators on the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA).
RAWA would dedicate $1.3 billion annually in existing funding from the royalties and fees collected from offshore and onshore energy and mineral development on federal lands and waters towards state-based fish and wildlife conservation efforts.
CSF Senior Northwest States Manager Zach Widner provided an overview of RAWA and an update on Congressional action of the House bill, H.R. 4647. Widner noted the significant benefits that RAWA would provide for wildlife management efforts in Idaho, as well as the work of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources that led to the bill’s introduction. CSF President Jeff Crane is currently a member of the Blue Ribbon Panel as well.
Rex Sallabanks, Wildlife Diversity Program Manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, elaborated on how passage of RAWA would aid the Department in managing Idaho’s fish and wildlife and state-level efforts to address CWD. Sallabanks highlighted some of the species that would benefit with the passage of RAWA, including the greater sage grouse and steelhead. Attendees were also directed to a RAWA support resolution that had previously been issued by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.
Brian Brooks, Executive Director for the Idaho Wildlife Federation (IWF), discussed the broad support for the bill that exists across the state and national sportsmen’s community, and detailed the existing support for RAWA from the energy industry.
On February 15, the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on H.R. 4647, along with other important sportsmen’s bills.
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?