Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, today introduced the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, legislation that would help sustain fish and wildlife populations throughout the country while preserving sportsmen’s rights. By redirecting existing federal resources to state-led wildlife conservation efforts, this legislation enables state agencies and their partners to work to conserve state species of greatest conservation need, as identified in their State Wildlife Action Plan, before more costly and restrictive action is needed under the Endangered Species Act. These enhanced conservation efforts will preserve sportsmen’s access to lands and wildlife-associated recreation long-term. This bill is similar to H.R. 4647.
“This legislation puts states back in control of conservation efforts and affords them greater flexibility to meet their state-specific needs, while also protecting the legacy of hunting and the value the industry brings to wildlife conservation,” said Senator Risch, Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus. “Additionally, by engaging in these proactive, voluntary conservation actions, we will save millions of tax dollars that are otherwise spent on restoring threatened and endangered species.”
“In West Virginia hunting, fishing and outdoor activities are family traditions deeply ingrained in who we are as a state. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will ensure we continue to promote our state’s unique wildlife and preserve our rich outdoor traditions. That’s why I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to make West Virginia even more wild and wonderful,” Senator Manchin said.
Senator Alexander said: “This legislation is based upon a sound conservation principle: take money created by an environmental burden and use it for an environmental benefit. This proposal will help provide more resources so that Tennessee, one of the most biologically diverse states, can improve its own plan to preserve wildlife.”
“North Dakota has a proud hunting and fishing tradition, and maintaining wildlife populations is important for recreation and our economy,” Senator Heitkamp said. “This bill would provide much-needed support to state fish and wildlife agencies to protect animal populations that are in decline. As a member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, I’m working in a bipartisan way to ensure future generations of North Dakotans get to enjoy the great outdoors, and to keep North Dakota a top destination for recreational tourism.”
“Our nation’s fish and wildlife are the foundation of our natural heritage, held in the public trust for all to enjoy, and cared for by the state fish and wildlife agencies. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would help all species — including many that are hunted and fished and those that are not— continue to thrive,” stated Virgil Moore, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of Idaho Fish and Game. “We applaud Senator Risch from my home state of Idaho and Senator Manchin of West Virginia for their leadership on this important legislation that will help management and conservation of fish and wildlife, and bolster our great outdoor recreation economy.”
“We applaud the Senate Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus leaders Senators Risch, Manchin, and Heitkamp, as well as Caucus Member Senator Alexander for introducing this important piece of legislation. America’s hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and boaters have been the primary funders of state-based conservation efforts to this day. This legislation will complement the contributions of sportsmen and women to ensure healthy fish and wildlife populations for future generations to enjoy,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane.
State fish and wildlife agencies have identified roughly 12,000 species in need of proactive conservation efforts in the United States, due to habitat loss, invasive species, and other contributing factors. This legislation provides states with greater authority to address their conservation needs before a species becomes endangered in the first place, and expedites recovery efforts for those species already listed.