Press Release

Bipartisan bill offers solution to under-funded fish and wildlife programs

07/20/2021

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2021 ----- A bipartisan Senate bill would provide vital resources to help conserve thousands of wildlife species that urgently need protection. The Izaak Walton League of America welcomes the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, S. 2372, which was introduced by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).  A similar bill, H.R. 2773, has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

“One-third of all wildlife species across the nation require proactive conservation efforts,” said Jared Mott, Conservation Director at the Izaak Walton League. “Funding shortfalls have long hampered the management of America’s fish and wildlife, and this legislation represents a 21st century solution to the growing costs of protecting these species. We look forward to working with all members of Congress, the Alliance for America’s Wildlife and other partners to pass the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act to safeguard these vulnerable wildlife populations.”

The Senate version of the bill would dedicate $1.3 billion annually to state fish and wildlife agencies to implement science-based wildlife action plans and an additional $97.5 million to conserve fish and wildlife on tribal lands and waters. This dedicated funding will allow these agencies to proactively conserve fish and wildlife species of greatest conservation need in a voluntary, non-regulatory manner before federal listing under the Endangered Species Act is warranted.

This bill will also get help Americans back to work, creating an estimated 33,000 jobs each year in natural resources restoration, bolstering community resilience while protecting our natural infrastructure.

Why a new funding model is needed

A new model of funding would address several challenges:

  • State agencies have identified about 12,000 wildlife species in need of proactive conservation efforts.
  • Current funding to implement state wildlife action plans is less than five percent of what experts say is needed to conserve the species most at risk.
  • 80 percent of state wildlife agency funding comes from hunters and anglers via license sales and excise taxes on their equipment. Management of on-game species also depends on that 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 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.

Contacts:

Michael Reinemer, Communications Director, and Editor, Outdoor America; mreinemer@iwla.org.  www.iwla.org      Jared Mott, Conservation Director, Izaak Walton League of America, jmott@iwla.org, 301-548-0150 ext. 224 

For nearly 100 years, the Izaak Walton League has fought for clean air and water, healthy fish and wildlife habitat, and conserving special places for future generations. Today, the League plays a unique role in supporting citizens locally and shaping conservation policy nationally. www.iwla.org  

    • Conservation