Committee approves Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

By Laura Bies

The least bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) was listed as a species of greatest conservation need in 36 states in 2015. ©Hal Trachtenberg

Last week, the House Committee on Natural Resources voted to approve the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 3742), which would provide about $1.4 billion to state, territorial and tribal wildlife agencies for the conservation of thousands of fish and wildlife species vulnerable to extinction.

“The Wildlife Society applauds the Natural Resource Committee’s approval of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act,” said Caroline Murphy, AWB®, government relations manager at The Wildlife Society. “This bill will empower wildlife professionals across the country to apply science-based conservation and management actions where they are most needed. We encourage the House to swiftly pass the legislation.”

The legislation, first introduced in 2016, currently has 162 co-sponsors. The Wildlife Society, alongside its chapters, sections and other members of the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife have generated a broad array of support for this landmark bill as it has moved through the U.S. House of Representatives. The committee voted 26-6 to advance the measure, with statements of support from across the political spectrum.

The Wildlife Society joined with partner organizations from America’s Wildlife Conservation Partnership to write committee members asking for their support of the landmark legislation. “The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act has attracted broad bipartisan support and from a full range of conservationists, organizations, businesses and industries,” the letter stated.

“It is vital to our nation’s outdoor heritage, and therefore, we urge you to support this most important legislation for wildlife, sportsmen and sportswomen, the economy, and the American taxpayer by advancing the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act through the legislative process and supporting its passage,” continued the letter, which was delivered to committee members before the markup.

The Society has also encouraged wildlife professionals and students to weigh in with lawmakers directly. A letter signed by more than 1,700 scientists around the country has been delivered to Representatives’ offices to demonstrate support from the scientific community in investing in at-risk species funding. More than 1,000 organizations and business, including more than 30 chapters and sections of The Wildlife Society signed a second support letter, organized by the National Wildlife Federation.

During the same session, the House Natural Resources Committee approved the Modernizing the Pittman Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act (H.R. 877), which would allow state wildlife agencies to use certain funds allocated through the Wildlife Restoration Account to build and maintain shooting ranges, and for marketing and communications efforts to recruit, retain and reactive hunters and recreational shooters.

The American Wildlife Conservation Partnership letter also supported this bill, noting that “the provisions in H.R. 877 will provide state agencies the flexibility needed to adapt to better meet the needs of the public and develop tools and techniques to recruit, retain, and reactivate hunters and other outdoor recreationists.”

Both bills must now be considered and voted upon by the full House and then considered by the Senate.

Laura BiesLaura Bies is a government relations contractor and freelance writer for The Wildlife Society. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and a law degree from George Washington University. Laura has worked with The Wildlife Society since 2005. Read more of Laura's articles.

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