Recovering America’s Wildlife Act:
A 21st Century Model of Wildlife Conservation Funding

State and tribal wildlife agency professionals and their partners work tirelessly on the conservation and management of wildlife populations for the benefit of all. A bill that would match this ethic with adequate financial support is on the horizon for passage this Congress.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 3742), introduced by Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan), Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebraska), and 60 of their congressional colleagues in July 2019, would provide $1.4 billion in dedicated annual funding to state and tribal fish and wildlife agencies. This funding would go towards the conservation and monitoring of at-risk species, known in states as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN).

What’s at stake

Since 2000, state and tribal wildlife agencies have pulled from a much smaller funding stream known as the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program. This program is vulnerable to the whims of congressional appropriators each year, and is typically only funded at about $60 million annually. Such limited funding only provides state agencies with the ability to address a few of the SGCN-related projects deemed necessary within their conservation action blueprints, known as State Wildlife Action Plans. This problem is amplified in tribal agencies, where no fund exists that agencies can utilize annually for long-term conservation planning.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act aims to drastically change this dynamic. This legislation would:

  • Implement the ideas of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources to address the financial needs associated with keeping species from facing costlier emergency conservation measures down the road.
  • Provide $1.3 billion in dedicated funding annually for the implementation of state fish and wildlife agencies’ wildlife action plans.
  • Provide $97.5 million in dedicated funding annually for tribal agencies to work on at-risk species recovery.
  • Leverage funds from state agencies, universities, and non-governmental organizations to boost the power of federal conservation spending.
  • Provide greater regulatory certainty for industry and private partners by conserving species and avoiding the need to list them under the Endangered Species Act.
  • Empower wildlife professionals to hold the nation’s wildlife in the public trust for generations to come by providing state and tribal agencies with the flexibility to conserve populations in an effective and cost-effective manner.

How TWS can help

TWS chapters and sections can:

  • Write letters or resolutions in support of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. For questions regarding the content of these supporting documents and what offices they should be sent to, please email
  • Connect with local affiliates of the American Fisheries Society and the National Wildlife Federation to explore what efforts can be coordinated at the local level. You can check out a list of some of the affiliates that have supported this legislation by viewing the National Wildlife Federation’s letter of support.
  • Check out the July 2019 webinar hosted by TWS and the American Fisheries Society on Updates to the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. This session provides information on updates made to the legislation in the 116th Congress, tools to engage with members of Congress, and mechanisms for building a coalition at the state level in support of the bill.

TWS members can:

  • Send a letter to your representative using TWS’ easy-to-use action alert system requesting their support for the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.
  • Sign-onto and share with your networks an individual sign-on letter developed for natural resource scientists and managers to show their support for the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. This letter will be distributed to U.S. Congressional offices.
  • Connect with the Conservation Affairs Committee in your chapter or section to find out how to best support your organization unit’s outreach efforts.

Please email to share any action you have taken on behalf of TWS or if you have any questions on how to take action.

See below for our relevant coverage:

“Texas student chapters engage on RAWA” Posted 12/28/2018
“TWS advises Senate committee considering wildlife funding” Posted 11/20/2018
“Recovering America’s Wildlife Act reaches 100 co-sponsors” Posted 10/1/2018
“Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Introduced in Senate” Posted 7/18/2018
“TWS co-hosts briefing to promote conservation” Posted on 06/28/2018
“America’s declining wildlife requires a proactive solution, report says” Posted on 03/29/2018
Combined efforts raise support for Recovering America’s Wildlife Act” Posted on 03/23/2018
“TWS submits testimony on two wildlife funding bills” Posted on 02/22/2018
“Recovering America’s Wildlife Act legislation reintroduced” Posted on 12/15/2017
“TWS Conservation Affairs Network reports on leading policy issues” Posted on 10/21/2016
“$1.3 Billion wildlife funding bill introduced in House of Representatives” Posted on 07/11/2016