Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) leaders Senators Jim Risch (ID), Joe Manchin (WV), and Heidi Heitkamp (ND), along with CSC Member Senator Lamar Alexander (TN) introduced the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (S. 3223).
This bill aims to meet the increasing need for proactive state-based fish and wildlife conservation funding for the full array of our nation’s fish and wildlife and the habitats they depend on. S. 3223 would authorize $1.3 billion of existing revenue from royalties on onshore energy and mineral development on federal lands and waters to be used to provide funding for state-based fish and wildlife conservation.
The House bill, H.R. 4647, was introduced by CSC Members Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE) and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI) in December 2017, and since has received strong bipartisan support from over 70 cosponsors and the House Natural Resources Committee as well as from the wildlife conservation community (including 37 members of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners and several members of the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife). Additionally, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and partners of the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife hosted a Capitol Hill Breakfast Briefing in March to discuss the importance of this legislation.
“We applaud the Senate Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus leaders Senators Risch, Manchin, and Heitkamp, as well as Caucus Member Senator Alexander for introducing this important piece of legislation. America’s hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and boaters have been the primary funders of state-based conservation efforts to this day. This legislation will complement the contributions of sportsmen and women to ensure healthy fish and wildlife populations for future generations to enjoy,” said CSF President Jeff Crane.
“This legislation puts states back in control of conservation efforts and affords them greater flexibility to meet their state-specific needs, while also protecting the legacy of hunting and the value the industry brings to wildlife conservation,” said Sen. Risch, CSC Co-Chair. “Additionally, by engaging in these proactive, voluntary conservation actions, we will save millions of tax dollars that are otherwise spent on restoring threatened and endangered species.”
“In West Virginia hunting, fishing and outdoor activities are family traditions deeply ingrained in who we are as a state. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will ensure we continue to promote our state’s unique wildlife and preserve our rich outdoor traditions. That’s why I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to make West Virginia even more wild and wonderful,” said CSC Co-Chair Sen. Manchin.
The Senate version of Recovering America’s Wildlife Act now awaits being scheduled for a Committee hearing.
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?