Gaithersburg, Md. June 14, 2022 ------The Izaak Walton League of America commends the House of Representatives for passing the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 2773), which addresses longstanding funding shortfalls for wildlife conservation in all 50 states.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) would provide $1.4 billion per year for state wildlife conservation efforts. RAWA would also direct an additional $97.5 million to tribal wildlife managers to conserve species on tribal lands and waters. These resources would be buttressed by competitive grants requiring matching funds from state wildlife agencies to implement their wildlife action plans.
The League looks forward to advancing the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act in the Senate with the same partnership and bipartisan spirit that carried the bill through the House of Representatives.
Comment from Jared Mott, Izaak Walton League Conservation Director
“With a third of native fish and wildlife at risk of becoming endangered, or worse, Americans are staring down the barrel of a worsening biodiversity crisis, so the timeliness of this vote is welcomed. We simply cannot wait any longer to provide the necessary resources to state and tribal agencies to begin restoring these species of greatest conservation need with a modern, proactive funding source that smartly invests in conservation before the need for far costlier measures necessitated by an Endangered Species Act listing.
“As Americans, we rejoice in sharing our landscapes with thriving populations of birds, plants, fish, mammals, and all manner of wildlife and we expect to pass that experience on to future generations.”
State fish and wildlife agencies have jurisdiction over most of the wildlife in America. 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 equipment for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation. As some of these traditional sources of funding decline, a new revenue model is needed to address serious threats that imperil fish and wildlife nationwide:
- State agencies have identified about at least 12,000 species in need of proactive conservation efforts; 33 percent of all U.S. species are at risk of becoming endangered.
- 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.
- Eighty percent of state wildlife agency funding comes from hunters and anglers via license sales and excise taxes on their equipment. However, all species, not just those that are pursued by hunters and anglers, must be managed with this revenue, which is declining as license sales go down.
- RAWA would fully 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 rarer and more costly to protect.
- RAWA ensures a modern solution to how we finance fish and wildlife conservation. This new funding model primarily draws from fees and royalties paid to develop energy on public lands, both on- and off-shore. It would provide states and tribes with the dedicated and consistent resources needed to implement plans that are designed to conserve all species of fish and wildlife.
The $1.4 billion annual investment from the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would lead to an additional $3.36 billion of economic output. That’s a net positive gain of $1.96 billion to the gross domestic product.
Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League fights for clean air and water, healthy fish and wildlife habitat and conservation of our natural resources for future generations. The League plays a unique role in supporting community-based science and local conservation and has a long legacy of shaping sound national policy. See www.iwla.org. Learn about the League’s century of conservation leadership at www.iwla.org/100years.
Michael Reinemer, Communications Director and Editor, Outdoor America; email@example.com; 703-966-9574 or 301-548-0150 ext 220