Historic, Bipartisan Wildlife Funding Bill Moves Forward

View Source Blog: http://nwf.org/Latest-News/Press-Releases/2019/12-05-19-Recovering-Markup
Lacey McCormick Dec 05, 2019

“The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the most significant piece of wildlife legislation since the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act was passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee today, priming it for a vote on the House floor. The bipartisan legislation, which has nearly 160 co-sponsors, would fund proactive conservation efforts to prevent species from becoming endangered and would provide additional funding for species that are already listed.

“Right now more than one-third of all wildlife species in the United States are at heightened risk of extinction — and demand immediate conservation attention. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the most significant piece of wildlife legislation since the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Grijalva and Reps. Dingell, Fortenberry and Huffman, and the bill’s more than 150 bipartisan cosponsors, this historic bill is making important progress in the House and is showing that even in these divided times, wildlife conservation can bring all Americans together.”

 About the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act:
• The bill will provide $1.397 billion in dedicated annual funding for proactive, on-the-ground wildlife conservation efforts in every state and territory.

• The bill will fund additional recovery efforts for the approximately 1,600 U.S. species already listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

• The majority of the money — $1.3 billion — will go to wildlife recovery efforts led by state wildlife agencies. This spending will be guided by the Congressionally mandated State Wildlife Action Plans, which identify 12,000 species of concern nationwide.

• Tribal Nations would receive $97.5 million annually to fund proactive wildlife conservation efforts on tens of millions of acres of land.

• The bill complements the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson) and Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (Dingell-Johnson), which funded state-led recovery efforts on behalf of game and fish species that faced potential extinction in the 20th century.

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Learn more about threatened and endangered wildlife in Indiana and how this legislation can help #RecoverWildlife by attending our January 18, 2020 Indiana Wildlife Conference.

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act HR 3742

DOWNLOAD FACTSHEETS: HR3742 Factsheet, State by State Allocation Estimate

The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, introduced by Representatives Dingell (D-MI) and Fortenberry (R-NE), will be the most significant investment in wildlife conservation in a generation. The bill will fund proactive efforts led by the states, territories and tribes to address the nation’s looming wildlife crisis and to prevent species from becoming endangered.

A stitch in time. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will dedicate $1.397 billion annually towards proactive, voluntary conservation efforts for wildlife at-risk. This will prevent species from requiring the emergency room measures of the Endangered Species Act.

Money to the states. $1.3 billion from this bill will be spent by state fish and wildlife agencies, in partnership with state-based conservation entities. The state agencies will use the money to implement their congressionally mandated State Wildlife Action Plans. These detailed plans incorporate science and public input and are approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Nationwide problem. The state wildlife agencies have identified more than 12,000 species in need of conservation attention.

Need for funding. Federal funding is less than five percent of what is necessary to conserve these species. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a innovative solution that matches the magnitude of the problem.

Helping wildlife at risk. The money will be used for on-the-ground conservation efforts such as conserving and restoring habitats, fighting invasive species, reintroducing native species and tackling emerging diseases.

Tribal lands. The legislation would dedicate $97.5 million annually for tribal wildlife conservation
efforts. The First Nations own or have influence on nearly 140 million acres.

YOU CAN TAKE ACTION TODAY!

Contact your US House Representative and let them know that Hoosiers value wildlife by following these simple steps!

1. Use your zip code to find your legislator.

2. Select the email icon and verify your zip code again.

3. Fill out the personal contact information.

4. Subject: Sign on to HR3742, Recovering America’s Wildlife Act
5. If a category is requested, select: Environment
6. Copy & Paste this Message (Feel free to modify the language):

America’s wildlife are essential for our national heritage and our $887 billion dollar outdoor economy. But thanks to challenges like habitat loss, invasive species, emerging diseases, and climate change we’re losing ground and species — and fast.

Right now, more than one-third of our nation’s fish and wildlife species are at-risk of becoming extinct. Indiana’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) has identified 140 species of fish and wildlife that are currently threatened or facing extinction in our state alone.  The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act stands to add $16M to support the actions in Indiana’s SWAP which currently receives so little money it does not even qualify for federal funding.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is built upon the premise that the best way to save America’s wildlife is through collaborative, proactive, voluntary work before species need more expensive “emergency room procedures” through the Endangered Species Act. I urge you to create a bright future for America’s wildlife and natural heritage by supporting and co-sponsoring H.R. 3742.  Thank you for being a wildlife champion.

Sincerely,
SIGN YOUR NAME

7. Hit send!
DOWNLOAD FACTSHEETS:
HR3742 Factsheet
State-by-State Appropriations
Sign on your Business/Organization

Naomi Edelson, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF WILDLIFE PARTNERSHIPS
EdelsonN@nwf.org  |  202-797-6889

Photo Credit: Emily Wood

New Study: 3 Billion Birds Lost

Lacey McCormick Sep 19, 2019

Research Shows Urgent Need for Increased Wildlife Funding
WASHINGTON — A new study in the journal Science has found the cumulative loss of nearly three billion birds since 1970, a decline of approximately 29%. The staggering net loss of birds shows the need for Congress to increase funding for wildlife conservation by passing the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.

“The dramatic declines in bird populations documented in this study are deeply concerning, but not surprising. We are seeing similar declines in wildlife populations across North America and around the world,” said Bruce Stein, chief scientist for the National Wildlife Federation and author of the book Precious Heritage: The Status of Biodiversity in the United States.

“Grassland birds have been hit especially hard, a result of the ongoing conversion of our native grasslands to agriculture. The strong improvements in waterfowl numbers demonstrate that when we invest in conservation — and have strong policies to protect and restore wetlands and other habitats — we can make a meaningful difference. The Administration’s efforts to weaken legal protections for wetlands could, unfortunately, reverse this progress.

“Right now, most birds and other wildlife species in trouble do not have the kind of consistent, dedicated funding that waterfowl have benefited from. The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would be a game-changer for birds by investing nearly $1.4 billion each year in proactive conservation strategies. This new study highlights the urgency of addressing America’s wildlife crisis by ramping up conservation investments and defending the laws that protect wildlife and their habitats.”

Additional Resources:

Parks Maintenance, LWCF, and Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

Contact: Naomi Edelson | 202-797-6889 | edelsonn@nwf.org

Dedicated Wildlife Funding Must be Included

  • America’s wildlife is in crisis — with more than one-third of all species imperiled. This monumental problem demands an equally big solution.
  • The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a fiscally responsible, national strategy to hasten the recovery of more than 12,000 potentially at-risk species through the United States.
  • The bill would invest $1.3 billion of existing funding — collected from energy and mineral fees on federal lands and waters — into state-based solutions by supporting the State Wildlife Action Plans mandated by Congress.

 

Recovering Wildlife, Parks Maintenance, and LWCF:

  • All of the parks maintenance bills and one of the LWCF bills call for dedicated funding.
  • Three pillars of conservation funding are needed- 1 for wildlife, 1 for parks, 1 for LWCF
  • Dedicated Wildlife funding has broad bipartisan support with more than 70 cosponsors in the House
  • Dedicated Wildlife funding has widespread support of more than 1000 diverse businesses and groups
  • Saying we can only address the national parks backlog or conserve wildlife is a false choice. We can do both and should refuse to play these connected priorities off each other.
  • After all, one of the main reasons people visit our national parks and other public lands is to see wildlife.

Current Parks Maintenance Legislation

After years of congressional underfunding, the National Parks Service is facing a backlog of more than $11 billion in deferred maintenance repairs. National Park facilities are reaching the end of their lifecycles, and the NPS is struggling to maintain the parks system’s enormous infrastructure, all at a time our parks are experiencing record visitation. Congress is now seeking more funding to address the backlog.

 

Senate:

  •  2509– National Parks Restoration Act, Sponsor: Sen Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
    • Establishes a dedicated park maintenance fund. Funding is provided through 50% of all unallocated money received from onshore and offshore energy development or renewable energy development. LWCF, Reclamation, and other programs funded through energy development will be funded first. This bill prohibits land acquisition.
    • 8 Cosponsors: Sen. Capito (R-WV), Sen. Daines (R-MT), Sen. Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Blunt (R-MO), Sen. Heinrich (D-NM), Sen. Manchin (D-WV), Sen. King (I-ME) Full list of cosponsors linked here

 

  • 3172– Restore Our Parks Act, Sponsor: Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)  (Hearing on July 11th at 3pm- Senate ENR Nat’l Parks Subcommittee)
    • Establishes a dedicated park maintenance fund that provides 50% of the unallocated money of the money from onshore and offshore energy development or renewable energy development up to $1.3 billion per year over five years for a potential total of $6.5 billion. 65% of the funds are to be spent on non-transportation projects and 35% on transportation projects.
    • 3 Cosponsors: Sen. Warner (D-VA), Sen. Alexander (R-TN), Sen. King (I-ME)

Full list of cosponsors linked here

 

  • 751– National Park Service Legacy Act of 2017, Sponsor: Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
    • Establishes a dedicated park maintenance fund that slowly escalates over 30 years to provide a total of $11.6 billion in funding. 20% of the funds will be allocated to roads and transportation. 80% of the funds will be spent on non-transportation projects. Funding will come from unallocated money from onshore and offshore energy development and renewable energy development. This bill prohibits land acquisition and this funding is not allowed to replace existing discretionary funding.
    • 21 Cosponsors: 21 (16 D’s, 4 R’s, 1 I)

Full list of cosponsors linked here

 

House:

  • 5210– National Park Restoration Act, Sponsor: Mike Simpson (R-ID)
    • Companion bill to S. 2509
    • 11 Cosponsors: Rep. Schrader (D-OR), Rep. Hanabusa (D-HI), Rep. Garamendi (D-CA), Rep. Hurd (R-TX), Rep. Bishop (R-UT), Rep. Torres (D-CA), Rep. LaMalfa (R-CA), Rep. Cramer (R-ND), Rep. Ross (R-FL), Rep. Cook (R-CA), Rep. Walorski (R-IN)

Full list of cosponsors linked here

 

  • 2584– National Park Restoration Act, Sponsor: Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX)
    • Companion bill to S. 751
    • 80 Cosponsors (40 D’s and 39 R’s)

Full list of cosponsors linked here

 

Current LWCF Legislation

Issue Overview:

The Land and Water Conservation uses revenue from offshore oil and gas drilling to support the conservation of national parks, areas around rivers and lakes, national forests, national forests, and national wildlife refuges. There is a substantial backlog of federal conservation needs are currently estimated at more than $30 billion.

 

Senate:

  • 896– A bill to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Sponsor: Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
    • Permanently reauthorizes the Land Water and Conservation Fund, and directs a portion of LWCF funding (1.5% or $10 million annually) to opening up additional access to public lands for hunting, fishing, and other recreation
    • 12 Cosponsors: Sen. Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Collins (R-ME), Sen. Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Daines (R-MT), Sen. Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Heinrich (D-NM), Sen. Graham (R-SC), Sen. King (I-ME), Sen. Donnelly (D-IN), Sen. Isakson (R-GA), Sen. Ernst (R-IA), Sen. Capito (R-WV)

Full list of cosponsors linked here

 

  • 569– Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act, Sponsor: Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) with Sen. Burr as cosponsor
    • This bill permanently reauthorizes LWCF and provides for full, dedicated and permanent funding.
    • 43 Cosponsors: (38 D’s, 3 R’s, 2 I’s)

Full list of cosponsors linked here

 

House:

  • 502– To permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Sponsor: Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
    • Companion bill to S. 896
    • 229 Cosponsors: (193 D’s and 36 R’s)

Full list of cosponsors linked here

Photo Credit: Emily Wood

National Wildlife Federation Urges Lawmakers to Fund Collaborative Conservation to Address America’s Wildlife Crisis

‘The greatest barrier to wildlife conservation in our nation is the chronic underinvestment in proactive, on-the-ground collaborative conservation’

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 17, 2018) —The National Wildlife Federation urged lawmakers to take a comprehensive approach to addressing America’s wildlife crisis as the U.S. Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee hosts a hearing on the Endangered Species Act. Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, urged lawmakers to expand their conversation to include proactive investments in wildlife conservation through the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.

“America’s wildlife are in crisis — with more than one-third of all species at-risk or vulnerable to potential extinction in the decades ahead. We cannot regulate or deregulate our way out of this monumental problem,” O’Mara said. “The greatest barrier to wildlife conservation in our nation is the chronic underinvestment in proactive, on-the-ground collaborative conservation efforts for species of greatest conservation need, before these species require emergency room measures under the Endangered Species Act. We thank Senator Barrasso for seeking broad input on the best way to recover wildlife species and we urge the Committee to prioritize reaching bipartisan agreement on providing significant dedicated funding for collaborative wildlife conservation, through the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act or a similar piece of legislation.

“Congress has shown — through the recent Farm Bill and the wildlife fix we championed — that it can pass significant conservation legislation. We encourage the Committee to seize the opportunity for landmark progress addressing America’s wildlife crisis.”

The National Wildlife Federation is working at the forefront of U.S. wildlife policy, and prioritizing efforts to restore wildlife populations across the United States. The Federation worked with U.S. Representatives Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., and Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., to introduce the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this session of Congress.