NWTF Supports Bipartisan Bill To Enhance Funding For Fish And Wildlife

NWTF News:
EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation acknowledges and thanks U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-AK) and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) for recently introducing the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 5650), a bill that calls for the dedication of $1.3 billion in existing revenue to the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program.
The Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program is currently unfunded. But under the proposed legislation, the program would allow state fish and wildlife agencies to proactively manage at-risk species before they become endangered, reducing taxpayer costs and the regulatory red tape that comes with listing under the Endangered Species Act.
“As a strong supporter of conservation and sportsmen alike, I’m proud to take the lead on an important discussion regarding fish and wildlife conservation across the country,” Rep. Young said. “While we’ve seen many great successes in management and conservation projects in the past, this legislation takes a unique approach to allow states to make responsible management decisions at home. As someone who proudly supports the management of fish and game for all Americans – for sportsmen, subsistence purposes, and for future generations – I believe this legislation is a responsible first step in developing a path forward.”
“It has been proven over the decades that incredible gains in species conservation have been made with dedicated sources of funding,” Rep. Dingell said. “The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act builds off the successes of previous efforts including Pittman-Robertson, Dingell-Johnson, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund by giving state fish and wildlife agencies additional resources they need to proactively manage at-risk wildlife species. I am proud to introduce this legislation with my Republican colleague from Alaska, Mr. Young. We both love the outdoors and know we must work hard to protect our natural resources. To some we may seem the odd couple but together we believe we can get something done that will help bring conservation into the 21st Century and complement the other successful programs that are currently in place.”
The introduction of this bill can be closely tied to the recommendations by the Association of Fish and Wildlife’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources to create a trust fund for the growing endangered species crisis using fees from energy and mineral development on federal lands and waters to support wildlife action plans in every state, territory and the District of Columbia.
“The NWTF is thankful for Congressman Young and Congresswoman Dingell introducing the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act,” said Becky Humphries, Blue Ribbon Panel member and NWTF chief conservation officer. “Sportsmen and women have carried the burden of conservation funding for too long, and this legislation is a big step in the right direction to address the growing need for increased funding to secure the future of countless species of fish and wildlife.”
The Blue Ribbon Panel was assembled in 2014 and met three times to produce recommendations and policy options on the most sustainable and equitable model to fund conservation of the full array of fish and wildlife species. The panel was co-chaired by Freudenthal and John L. Morris, noted conservationist and founder of Bass Pro Shops.
It includes representatives from the outdoor recreation retail and manufacturing sector, the energy and automotive industries, private landowners, educational institutions, conservation organizations, sportsmen’s groups and state fish and wildlife agencies.