TWS urges action on conservation legislation

By Laura Bies

The John Day River in Oregon was conserved partly through funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Credit: BLM Oregon and Washington

The Wildlife Society recently expressed support for two pieces of legislation that would support wildlife and natural resources, and asked that lawmakers either include both bills in a future stimulus bill addressing the COVID-19 pandemic or pass them separately.

Joined by more than 50 organizations representing millions of fish and wildlife professionals, hunters, anglers and other conservationists, The Wildlife Society wrote to lawmakers urging them pass “America’s Conservation Enhancement Act” (S. 3051) and the “Great American Outdoors Act” (S. 3422).

“Both the ‘America’s Conservation Enhancement Act’ and the ‘Great American Outdoors Act’ provide opportunities to support natural resource management, allow for outdoor recreation and create new wildlife and natural resource related job opportunities across the United States,” said Caroline Murphy, AWB®, government relations manager at The Wildlife Society. “We urge Congress to act on these important pieces of legislation as soon as possible.”

The Great American Outdoors Act combines the “Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act” (H.R. 1225), which would provide funding for federal land and resource management agencies to perform deferred maintenance on federal lands, with dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The “Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act” was approved by the House Committee on Natural Resources and awaits a vote in the full House. Permanent and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund has been the subject of several pieces of legislation in recent years, after the program was reauthorized without permanent funding in early 2019.

The America’s Conservation Enhancement Act, which has already passed the Senate, includes numerous conservation provisions that leverage public and private funding and create jobs, such as reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Chesapeake Bay Program; authorization of the National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act; and the creation of a chronic wasting disease coordinating task force.

Congress has already passed one economic stimulus bill in response to the coronavirus pandemic and is considering future legislation.

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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