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EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation praises the House of Representatives for passing the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act today and for supporting the most significant investment in wildlife conservation in generations.
“Not since the passage of the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937 and the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950 has a single piece of legislation had such great potential for bolstering wildlife populations across the United States,” NWTF co-CEO Becky Humphries said of the bill that provides up to $1.3 billion annually for states, tribes and private landowners to help recover vulnerable species.
Currently, 80% of the funding for state fish and wildlife agencies comes from hunting and fishing licenses and permits and federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear. This funding model has worked for nearly 100 years but has reached its limit, partially due to declines in hunting participation, and only addresses about 25% of the existing need. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act modernizes conservation funding for the nation and empowers state and tribal wildlife managers to proactively conserve declining fish and wildlife species in a voluntary manner before they become endangered or federally protected.
“Finally, after more than 20 years in the making, this historic legislation is one step closer to becoming a reality,” Humphries said. “Providing state and tribal agencies with much-needed funding and authority to focus on at-risk species in their own way allows them to balance their management activities with multiple priorities. With a steady decline in hunting participation over the past few decades, the traditional funding source for conservation isn’t adequate to meet the current need. This bill would help bring conservation funding into the 21st century.”
The House version of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act also establishes the Endangered Species Recovery and Habitat Conservation Legacy Fund to build on collaborative partnerships with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, states, tribes and private landowners to help move additional species off the federal Endangered Species Act list and return them to state management.
The next step for the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act to become law is for the Senate to take up the companion bill (S. 2372), which passed out of committee last month, and for a conference negotiation between the Senate and House to resolve differences between the two versions before it is sent to President Joe Biden for his signature. The Biden Administration recently sent a letter to Congress supporting the legislation.
The NWTF encourages its members to reach out to their Senators and urge them to help bring the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act across the finish line.
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters' rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Since 2012, this 10-year initiative has already eclipsed goals of conserving or enhancing more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruiting or retaining more than 1.5 million hunters and opening access to more than 500,000 acres for hunting and other recreation opportunities. This critical work will continue to impact wildlife habitat and our great outdoors in the final year of the initiative.