Press Release

New Bill Offers a 21st Century Solution to Underfunding of Fish and Wildlife Programs

04/22/2021

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2021 ----- The Izaak Walton League of America welcomes the introduction of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“One-third of all U.S. wildlife species are at risk of becoming endangered and are in need of proactive conservation efforts,” said Jared Mott, Conservation Director at the Izaak Walton League. “This bill represents a 21st century solution to chronic funding shortfalls that hamper the management of America’s fish and wildlife.”

The League applauds Representatives Dingell and Fortenberry for their bipartisan response to the growing costs of protecting fish and wildlife resources. We look forward to working with all members of Congress, the entire Alliance for America’s Wildlife and other partners to pass the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act and ensure the future for all of America’s fish and wildlife treasures.

Details about the Legislation

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) would redirect $1.3 billion per year to state wildlife conservation efforts via the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration subaccount created by the Pittman-Robertson Act. 

RAWA would also direct an additional $97.5 million to tribal wildlife managers to conserve species on tribal lands and waters. The funds would come from existing revenues and would set up competitive grants requiring matching funds from state wildlife agencies to implement their wildlife action plans.

State fish and wildlife agencies have jurisdiction over the majority of wildlife within their borders. However, the current funding model for wildlife conservation and management relies on hunting and fishing license sales, as well as excise taxes collected on the sale of hunting, fishing, and other sporting equipment.

A new model of funding is needed to address several challenges:

  • State agencies have identified about 12,000 species in need of proactive conservation efforts in the U.S.
  • Current funding to implement state wildlife action plans is less than 5% of what experts say is needed to conserve the species most at risk.
  • 80% of state wildlife agency funding comes from hunters and anglers via license sales and excise taxes on their equipment. Non-game species must be managed with this revenue, which is declining as license sales go down.
  • RAWA would fund State Wildlife Action Plans – proactive, comprehensive conservation strategies developed by state wildlife agencies to examine species health and recommend actions to conserve wildlife and vital habitat before they become more rare and costly to protect.
  • RAWA ensures a modern solution to how we finance fish and wildlife conservation. This new funding model would provide states and tribes with dedicated and consistent resources needed to implement plans that are designed to conserve all species of fish and wildlife.

Contact:

Jared Mott, Conservation Director, Izaak Walton League of America, jmott@iwla.org, 301-548-0150 ext. 224

Since 1922, the Izaak Walton League has served as a leading force for clean air and water, healthy soil and habit for fish and wildlife habitat. Today, the League plays a unique role in supporting local conservation volunteers and shaping national policy. www.iwla.org