In a time when bipartisan doesn’t often apply to the divisive left and right sides of the aisle in Congress, today the House came together to vote through the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, a few months after a House Committee sent the bill to the House floor.
Here’s a video summary of what the bill, first introduced by bipartisan Senators and House Representatives such as Senators Martin Heinrich (D) and Roy Blunt (R) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D): https://www.youtube.com/embed/dmTtiy-PqBw?feature=oembed
And here’s some reaction to the successful House vote (231 yes to 190 no), starting with Ducks Unlimited:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 14, 2022 – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA). This landmark legislation will provide $1.39 billion for states, territories and tribes to support proactive habitat restoration of species of greatest conservation concern across the U.S. The bill’s spending would be guided by federally approved State Wildlife Action Plans, in which state wildlife agencies have identified 12,000 species in greatest need of conservation to date.
RAWA was introduced in the House by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI). Similar legislation awaits a vote in the Senate, where it has been introduced by Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Roy Blunt (R-MO).
“RAWA follows a tried-and-true formula for proactive habitat conservation,” said DU CEO Adam Putnam. “We’ve seen other programs, like the Pittman-Robertson Act, utilize this very same conservation methodology to great success. The end result will be healthier habitat that greatly benefits waterfowl and other wildlife, as well as generations of sportsmen and women to come. We thank our friends in the House of Representatives for prioritizing this landmark conservation legislation.”
DU’s Chief Operating Officer, Nick Wiley, previously served as Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as well as President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA). In 2015, AFWA created the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources. The 28-member panel, co-chaired by Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris and former Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal, identified the need for a more consistent, dedicated mechanism to fund state fish and wildlife agencies and recommended the creation of RAWA.
For more information, visit www.ducks.org, and be sure to Follow DU’s Twitter feed – @DucksUnlimited and @DUConserve – to get the most up-to-date news from Ducks Unlimited.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.
And another statement from the National Wildlife Federation:
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 14, 2022) — The U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a watershed moment for species conservation and underscores the broad, bipartisan support for ensuring wildlife endure and thrive for future generations.
“America’s wildlife are in crisis, with more than 12,000 species at heightened risk of extinction if we fail to act. The bipartisan passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act — the most important wildlife-conservation legislation in a half century — affirms that there is consensus across the political spectrum that we can, and we must, prevent extinctions from our backyards to the backcountry,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Representative Debbie Dingell has worked tirelessly on behalf of this bill for years, and this historic vote cements her legacy as a wildlife champion.
“The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is on the verge of becoming law. We urge the Senate to build upon the leadership of Senators Martin Heinrich, Roy Blunt, Thom Tillis, and Tom Carper and take up this historic conservation bill as soon as possible. Inaction is the ally of extinction — and now it’s time to act.”
“Tribes have thousands of years of traditional knowledge and a vested interest in solving the biggest challenges facing our fish and wildlife. The missing piece of the puzzle is adequate, sustained resources to build tribal capacity and support their conservation efforts,” said Gloria Tom, director of the Navajo Nation’s Fish and Wildlife Department and member of the National Wildlife Federation’s Board of Directors. “The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would be an unprecedented step in providing those resources and rectifying historic funding inequity and injustice.”
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will prevent extinctions and restore wildlife species by investing $1.4 billion each year in state, territorial, and Tribal species-conservation projects. The legislation will prevent vulnerable species from declining to the point where they need the protections of the federal Endangered Species Act while providing a significant new source of funding for species that already are federally protected.
The bill is also revolutionary for directly investing in Native American Tribes and their species-conservation efforts. It would devote $97.5 million each year to fund proactive wildlife conservation efforts by Tribal wildlife programs and on Tribal lands.
The wildlife recovery efforts funded by the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will be guided by the congressionally-mandated State Wildlife Action Plans, which identify specific, science-based strategies to restore the populations of species of greatest conservation need. These plans identify more than 12,000 species that need conservation assistance.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act requires at least 15 percent of the funding to be spent on threatened and endangered species. The bill complements the highly successful Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson) and Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (Dingell-Johnson), which facilitated the recovery of a range of species including large mammals, game birds, and sportfish that once faced extinction.
Visit the National Wildlife Federation Media Center at NWF.org/News.
Another one from Backcountry Hunters and Anglers:
WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives voted 231-190 today to advance a seminal funding bill that would help conserve populations of at-risk species of fish and wildlife.
The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, or RAWA, would invest an annual $1.3 billion in state fish and wildlife management agencies and provide an additional annual $97.5 million for tribal management. In doing so, it would support critical conservation work, enhance fish and wildlife habitat and boost America’s outdoor recreation economy. RAWA builds on the legacy of generations of sportsmen and women who have funded conservation through excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment and the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers commended the efforts of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), in securing this afternoon’s House passage, setting up a subsequent Senate vote on a conservation bill that BHA described as “unprecedented.”
“Hunters and anglers have been vocal proponents of the need for targeted investments in species recovery,” said BHA Conservation Director John Gale. “The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the product of decades of hard work and dedicated collaboration by a range of diverse stakeholders, including sportsmen and women, conservationists and business leaders. The moment to ensure this bill’s passage into law is upon us.
“State and tribal wildlife action plans have lacked critical funding for far too long.” Gale continued. “RAWA’s scope and potential benefits are unprecedented. This legislation will finally equip states and tribes to draw on a broad range of proven management practices, such as active restoration, invasive species removal, research, watershed management and collaborative management across state lines and tribal lands, to effect successful species recovery.”
State and tribal wildlife agencies have demonstrated the ability to successfully restore habitat for iconic game species, including Tule elk in California, harlequin ducks in Montana, northern pintails in Kansas and many others. While not all at-risk species are game species, they share the same habitat with critical game animals like mallards, mule deer, pronghorn and wild trout. Improving habitat for one species benefits all of them, including wild game.
“Backcountry Hunters & Anglers thanks the House of Representatives for today’s vote,” concluded Gale. “Now all eyes turn to the Senate, where we urge similarly foresighted leaders to build on this momentum and advance the bill to the president’s desk.”
RAWA’s progress in the 117th Congress has resulted from a broad coalition of stakeholders, the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife, focused on addressing at-risk species while also improving hunting and fishing opportunities. RAWA’s Senate sponsors, Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), remain vocal regarding the need to quickly advance the legislation into law.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.