Georgia Sportsmen’s Caucus Understands the Connection Between Federal and State Conservation Funding

Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator

Highlights

  • The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA), a strongly supported piece of bipartisan federal legislation, would provide nearly $1.4 billion annually for on-the-ground, state-based conservation funding.
  • On February 18, 2021, Georgia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Representative David Knight introduced House Resolution 183 (HR 183) which urges Congress to pass RAWA.
  • On March 25, 2021, HR 183 was enacted by the Georgia Legislature.

Why it Matters: Fish and Wildlife game species that are cherished by hunters and anglers are thriving thanks to the financial contributions of sportsmen and women. Unfortunately, the roughly $3 billion in annual conservation funding provided by sportsmen and women only goes so far. As a result, roughly 12,000 species of fish, wildlife, and plants are at risk and in desperate need of conservation funding before more costly and burdensome measures are necessary.

State fish and wildlife agencies have identified, through their State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs), more than 12,000 species with the greatest conservation need. State agencies receive funding to address the issues identified in their SWAPs through the State Wildlife Grant Program. This program annually provides $65 million but when split amongst all 50 states and U.S. territories, it is insufficient to adequately address wildlife conservation needs.

Sportsmen and women serve as the primary funders of conservation for both game and non-game species through the American System of Conservation Funding. The Georgia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus understands the hardships that many of the wildlife species in Georgia and across the country face with increasing urbanization and loss of viable habitat. RAWA would provide funds for state agencies to implement projects to support at-risk species and their associated habitats which would benefit other species, including game species.

While RAWA has not yet been reintroduced in this Congress, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) will continue our work to support RAWA. Coordination between federal and state governments in support of federal legislation that would greatly assist in the conservation of at-risk species is encouraging.

We appreciate the support of in-state conservation partners and the leadership of Georgia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Knight and Sen. Tyler Harper shepherding the resolution through the legislature.

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Recently, two Montana state representatives have proposed more aggressive legislation addressing the state's gray wolf population. These bills range from the addition of a wolf tag into big game combination tags, to year-round sanctioned harvest without a license, use of snare traps, and private reimbursement of wolf harvest. Currently, the wolf population in Montana sits at 850 wolves, which is 700 over the state’s minimum recovery goal of 150 wolves. Which of the below options for wolf management do you support? (Select all that apply)

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