Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

Summary

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would provide $1.3 billion to state wildlife agencies to fully implement their State Wildlife Action Plans to address critical fish and wildlife conservation needs. Apportioned funds will be leveraged using a 25% non-federal match to produce positive outcomes to proactively conserve fish, wildlife, and their associated habitats. Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will provide more certainty to landowners, sportsmen and women, outdoor recreation enthusiasts, retail businesses, and the energy and manufacturing industries and many other stakeholder groups.

Summary

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would provide $1.3 billion annually to state fish and wildlife agencies to fully implement their State Wildlife Action Plans to address critical fish, wildlife, and plant conservation needs. Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will also provide $97.5 million annually to Tribal wildlife agencies to conduct proactive conservation efforts on Tribal managed lands and waters. Apportioned funds will be leveraged using a 25% non-federal match to produce positive outcomes to proactively conserve fish, wildlife, and their associated habitats before most costly and restrictive measures are necessary. Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will provide more certainty to landowners, sportsmen and women, outdoor recreation enthusiasts, retail businesses, and the energy and manufacturing industries and many other stakeholder groups.

Background

In 2015, the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Fish and Wildlife Resources (BRP), a group of top conservation leaders in the United States, co-chaired by former Wyoming Governor, David Freudenthal, and Bass Pro Shops founder John L. Morris, recommended that Congress introduce legislation that would solve the conservation funding issue for 12,000 identified species in the greatest conservation need, which is the basis for Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. The BRP, which is now represented by the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife, brought together a broad coalition of sportsmen’s conservation organizations, outdoor recreational retail and manufacturing sectors, energy and automotive industries, private landowners, educational institutions, and state fish and wildlife agencies. Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President and CEO (CSF) Jeff Crane was a member of the BRP and currently serves as the Legislative Co-Chair for the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife.

Each state, territory, and the District of Columbia is mandated by Congress to develop comprehensive State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) to identify key conservation needs within each respective state. Currently, state agencies often receive less than 5% of the funds that are necessary to address the issues identified in their action plans. Collectively, SWAPs have identified nearly 12,000 species that are in the greatest need of conservation. Recovering America’s Wildlife will complement the American System of Conservation Funding, which is the financial contributions of hunters, anglers, target shooters, and boaters through excise taxes and related user fees, to ensure healthy populations of fish and wildlife for future generations to enjoy.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would provide $1.3 billion to the existing, but currently unfunded, Wildlife Conservation Restoration subaccount within the Pittman-Robertson Act. Funds would be distributed to state wildlife agencies to address the conservation needs that are identified in SWAPs. Passage of this legislation would strengthen state, territorial, and Tribal fish and wildlife agencies’ capacity to implement SWAPs to ensure the future of healthy populations of fish, wildlife, and their associated habitats.

Recent Activity

On April 22, 2021, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 2773) was introduced in the House by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Co-Chair Representative Debbie Dingell (MI) and CSC Member Representative Jeff Fortenberry (NE). On July 15, 2021, the Senate companion bill (S.2372) to Recovering America’s Wildlife Act was introduced by CSC Co-Chair Senator Martin Heinrich (NM) and CSC Member Roy Blunt (MO). On July 29, the House Natural Resources Committee held a legislative hearing on H.R. 2773, and on December 8, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on the Senate bill.

Last updated 1/14/2022

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