Landmark wildlife bill closer to becoming law


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EDGEFIELD, S.C.— The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted Thursday to release the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2021 to the full Senate for consideration.

Spotlighted as one of the most important pieces of wildlife management legislation since the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson acts, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act provides up to $1.3 billion annually for states, tribes and private landowners to help recover vulnerable species. The funding aims to prevent an increase in listings under the Endangered Species Act and promote activities that help remove species from this protective status. 

“RAWA is a game-changer for state and tribal wildlife agencies that consistently struggle with funding to meet the demands of congressionally-mandated state wildlife action plans,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “We’ve been pushing for this for over 20 years, and I’m excited to see the momentum carrying this legislation forward in a time when Congress struggles to find common ground. State agencies are best suited to scientifically manage the wildlife in their state while considering the multiple uses of state resources, as long as they have the funding to implement the needed conservation practices.”

Federal involvement once a species is listed as threatened or endangered often results in the closure of public lands that restricts access for hunting and outdoor recreation and limits habitat management practices on public and private lands in areas where listed species exist. This funding will allow states and tribes to manage their wildlife to keep species off the ESA list.

The bill, if passed, would also establish 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.

Funding for this bill would be derived from federal fines and penalties levied for natural resource and environmental violations that would normally go into the general treasury. 

The NWTF urges its members to reach out to their Senate members to encourage them to vote for this landmark legislation that benefits wildlife across the nation.

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.