December 18, 2017
Scientists estimate that one third of all U.S. wildlife species are currently at increased risk of extinction. Factors such as habitat loss, invasive species, disease, and severe weather have taken a significant toll on birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies and bees.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, introduced by Reps. Don Young (R-Alaska) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), would direct $1.3 billion of existing revenue from oil and gas activities on federal lands and waters towards state-led efforts to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered.
“Right now, America’s wildlife are in crisis and need our help,” Collin O’Mara, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation, said on about the proposal. “As many of one-third of all wildlife species in our nation are at risk. We need to act now to ensure that future generations of Americans inherit the full diversity of our nation’s fish and wildlife. We thank Representatives Young and Dingell for introducing the historic Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.”
“We know the state can do a great job recovering wildlife populations in New Mexico when the funding is available. We’ve seen that with the reintroduction of the Rio Grande cutthroat trout in the Valle Vidal,” said Garrett VeneKlasen, Executive Director, New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is ready to be a thoughtful steward of this money. Wildlife like desert bighorn sheep, Mearn’s quail, and pronghorns will benefit—and so will the ecosystems and the economy of New Mexico.”
The legislation builds upon the successes of the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson) and the Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration Act (Dingell-Johnson) that have allowed America to lead the world in the conservation of game species, such as deer, elk, bighorn sheep, wild turkeys, and many species of waterfowl and sportfish.
Todd Leahy, Deputy Director said: “We need to get this bill passed and I hope all of New Mexico’s members of the House, along with Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, will enthusiastically support this bill. Future generations of New Mexicans will thank us if we work together to get this right.”
The legislation will enable the recovery of wildlife populations by funding proactive and collaborative on-the-ground conservation actions. These efforts will be guided by the State Wildlife Action Plans, which are developed and regularly updated by state fish and wildlife agencies in close consultation with conservation partners, landowners, businesses, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. States will be required to provide 25 percent matching funds.
“This bill will help thousands of wildlife species through proactive, collaborative, on-the-ground efforts, said O’Mara. “The approach is unique because it calls for early action to save struggling wildlife, rather than waiting until species are on the brink of extinction and need expensive ‘emergency room’ measures to recover. When this bill becomes law, we will increase wildlife populations, strengthen America’s economy, and reduce the uncertainty for businesses.
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