Recovering America’s Wildlife Act was introduced in the U.S. Congress as House Resolution 4647 (H.R. 4647). Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced this bipartisan legislation.
The bill would dedicate $1.3 billion annually to the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program to conserve fish and wildlife. The funds would come from the development of energy and mineral resources on federal lands and waters.
“This is a very important and creative legislative initiative to enhance wildlife ecosystems across our nation through constructive partnerships in states,” stated Rep. Fortenberry in a release from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
The filing of this legislation is the result of the work of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources. This 28-member collaboration between leaders in wildlife conservation, industry, and government made the recommendation that Congress dedicate $1.3 billion annually in existing revenue from the development of energy and mineral resources on federal lands and waters to state-based fish and wildlife conservation.
The panel was convened to evaluate and recommend a more sustainable funding approach to avert a fish and wildlife conservation crisis. Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, and Dave Freudenthal, a former Wyoming governor, co-chaired the panel.
“Each of us, as citizens of this country, has the responsibility to ensure diverse fish and wildlife resources are managed for future generations. Fish and wildlife need healthy habitats to thrive — enhancing our lives and providing many other benefits,” Morris said. “State fish and wildlife agencies have a solid track record of accomplishing remarkable recovery and restoration successes since the early 1900s. However, enhanced funding is now needed to address today’s fish and wildlife habitat management challenges.”
The Pittman-Robertson Act was established in 1937 to fund wildlife conservation through a tax on hunting and shooting equipment. The success of this funding model was used to pass the similar Dingell-Johnson Act in 1950, which supports sport fishing.
These two acts have supported state-based conservation for more than half of a century, but the time has come to significantly expand funding for conservation across the country. Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson put the responsibility of funding conservation squarely on the shoulders of sportsmen.
As a sportsman myself, I am proud to pay these taxes and to contribute to funding conservation. However, sportsmen can’t be responsible for funding the future of conservation on our own. We need the financial support of all outdoor enthusiasts.
“This bill will help thousands of wildlife species through proactive, collaborative, on-the-ground efforts,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “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 need for regulatory measures.”
Now, everyone who loves nature needs to let their elected member of Congress know you want them to make the right decision for the future of fish and wildlife and ask them to support Recovering America’s Wildlife Act and vote yes on House Resolution 4647 (H.R. 4647). To learn more about this act, and to contact your representative, visit congress.gov.
See you down the trail.