Scientists support Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

By Laura Bies

The rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) was listed as a species of greatest conservation need in 29 states in 2015. ©CheepShot

More than 1,000 scientists from around the country signed a letter organized by The Wildlife Society and other members of the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife  in support of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 3742). The list of signatures includes scientists from all 50 states and several territories and tribes.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would provide state fish and wildlife agencies and tribes with $1.4 billion in dedicated funding to address more than 12,000 species in need of proactive conservation. As recent reports have highlighted, one-third of the fish and wildlife species that make up the United States’ biodiversity currently face steep declines.

“Our country is in need of a solution that will match the scale of the problem. America’s scientists along with conservation organizations, state, and industry partners understand the crisis at hand,” said Gary White, CWB®, president of The Wildlife Society. “We look forward to continuing to work with legislators on an understanding of this crisis and the need to invest in proactive conservation for the benefit of all Americans.”

The letter was delivered to members of Congress before a hearing on the bill last Thursday by the House Natural Resource Committees’ Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee.

Natural resource scientists are still being encouraged to sign the letter and share it with their networks. The letter will remain open for signatures and will continue to be used to build support for the legislation in Congress.

“The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a top priority for The Wildlife Society during the current Congress,” said Caroline Murphy, AWB®, government relations manager at The Wildlife Society. “The reliable funding it provides will enable wildlife professionals across the country to address the very real threats to wildlife populations, such as habitat needs, a changing climate and invasive species, through science-based conservation and management actions.”

A second support letter, organized by the National Wildlife Federation, has been signed by more than 1,000 organizations and business, including over 30 chapters and sections  of The Wildlife Society. These letters, along with many other statements of support, were discussed in detail during the subcommittee hearing.

Collin O’Mara, the President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, testified that the act “proposes a visionary, collaborative solution that matches the magnitude of the monumental crisis wildlife face.” He went on to say “the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is simply the most significant piece of wildlife legislation since passage of the Endangered Species Act 46 years ago. It marks the best chance we have to win our race against the clock. The longer we wait to act, the more expensive and difficult the crisis becomes to solve.”

Stephen Guertin, Deputy Director for Policy for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, also spoke in favor of the bill, noting that “by investing in reducing threats to species and their habitats before they become critically imperiled, future conservation efforts are likely to be less costly, more flexible, and more likely to result in successful conservation over time.”

Supported by the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act now has 145 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. The Wildlife Society and other members of the Alliance continue to generate support for this landmark bill.

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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