Scientists estimate that one third of all U.S. wildlife species are already imperiled or are vulnerable. Habitat loss, invasive species, and severe weather have all taken a severe toll on birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, and bees. All types of wildlife are declining—in many cases dramatically. We need urgent action to protect vulnerable wildlife. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the solution we need.
State fish and wildlife agencies have identified roughly 8,000 species in need of proactive conservation efforts in the United States, and the number of species petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act has increased by 1,000 percent in less than a decade.
Unless our nation makes a change in the way we fund conservation, the numbers of species on the brink of extinction will grow significantly. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will help wildlife at risk before they need the more costly and restrictive “emergency room” measures required by the Endangered Species Act. The current levels of funding are less than 5 percent of what is necessary.
The dramatic decline of so many species of wildlife and the habitats they depend on threatens Americans’ quality of life, as well as our outdoor economy. Today the outdoor recreation industry contributes $887 billion to our national economy annually, creates 7.6 million direct jobs, and generates $124.5 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. It is critical that we come up with a solution that matches the scope of the challenge.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will redirect $1.3 billion of existing revenue annually to state-led wildlife conservation efforts, effectively allowing the states to more fully implement their State Wildlife Action Plans. This legislation follows the recommendation of a diverse group of energy, business, and conservation leaders. This group, known as the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources, determined that an annual investment of $1.3 billion in revenues from energy and mineral development on federal lands and waters could address the needs of thousands of species, preventing them from needing to be added to the Endangered Species Act.
Here are some details about the funds and how they will help wildlife and people:
For more information, visit the links below:
Each state’s fish and wildlife agency is responsible for developing a State Wildlife Action Plan, which identifies imperiled species in the state and lists actions that would assist with their protection and recovery. Currently these plans have identified approximately 8,000 species in need of proactive conservation efforts.
How They Work: Every state has written a State Wildlife Action Plan, which acts like a blueprint for conservation. These Action Plans assess the health of wildlife and habitat in the state, so experts know which species are at risk, and outline steps needed to conserve the “species of greatest conservation need” before they become more rare and costly to protect. The State Wildlife Grants Program is currently the main source of federal funding for states and territories as they implement these plans. However it is grossly inadequate, only providing $70 million among all 50 states and territories. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will dramatically increase funding for the implementation of these plans, enabling states to protect species from future declines.
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