RAWA bill introduced in the U.S. Senate

By Laura Bies

The timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) was identified as a species of greatest conservation concern by 28 states in 2015. Credit: Peter Paplanus

Last week, Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act in the U.S. Senate. The landmark legislation would provide about $1.4 billion annually to state, territorial and tribal wildlife agencies for the conservation of thousands of fish and wildlife species.

The funding would support the implementation of State Wildlife Action Plans, proactive conservation blueprints that identify species at risk of becoming threatened or endangered, known as species of greatest conservation need, and detail plans to reduce population declines in an effort to prevent the need to list them under the Endangered Species Act. To date, state fish and wildlife agencies have identified 12,000 species at-risk of becoming threatened or endangered through development of these plans.

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act funding would also support tribal nations in the identification, planning and conservation of at-risk species and associated activities, empowering their fish and wildlife professionals to effectively work with partners toward conservation successes and prevent species from becoming endangered.

“There has never been a more pressing time than now to rise to the challenge of conserving the country’s most at-risk species” said Carol Chambers, president of The Wildlife Society, in a joint press release with the American Fisheries Society. “Through Senator Heinrich’s and Senator Blunt’s leadership, fish and wildlife professionals will have more robust tools to advance science-based natural resource conservation and ensure fish and wildlife populations are sustained for future generations.”

The Wildlife Society’s government relations staff and partner organizations have been working to advance RAWA since it was first introduced in 2016. Members of TWS and other wildlife professionals are encouraged visit TWS’ Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Action Center to learn more about the bill and urge their U.S. Senators to support RAWA.

Read The Wildlife Society’s and the American Fisheries Society’s joint press release on the bill’s introduction in the Senate here.

Read the Reversing America’s Wildlife Crisis report, a collaboration between TWS, AFS, and the National Wildlife Federation, which highlights population declines in North American and migratory wildlife species due to a variety of threats.

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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