Bipartisan Bill Will Create Jobs, Prevent Extinctions by Helping Nation’s At-Risk Wildlife

“This bill will put people to work today protecting our wildlife heritage for tomorrow.”

WASHINGTON (April 22, 2020) — The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will create jobs and improve the nation’s resilience to climate change by dedicating $1.4 billion annually to proactive, voluntary, locally-led efforts to help wildlife at risk. 

“America’s wildlife are in crisis. One-third of all species in the country currently face a heightened risk of extinction. This bill represents a bold, bipartisan vision for how we can recover wildlife and create jobs in every state across the nation,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “There is important work just waiting to be done restoring habitat, removing invasive species, stopping wildlife diseases, reducing water pollution, and mitigating the harm from climate change. This bill will put people to work today protecting our wildlife heritage for tomorrow.

“Representatives Dingell and Fortenberry’s steadfast leadership on this bill is a shining example of how Congress can still find common ground on conservation even in these polarized times. We’re confident the bill will be signed into law by President Biden this year.”

More about the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act: 

  • The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act dedicates nearly $1.4 billion annually to prevent vulnerable species from declining to the point where they need the protections of the federal Endangered Species Act while providing a significant new source of funding for species that already are federally protected.
  • Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) reintroduced an updated version of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act with House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rep. French Hill (R-AR), Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA), and Rep. Jenniffer González Colón (R-PR).
  • Last session’s House bill had 185 bipartisan cosponsors and was reported out of the House Natural Resources Committee with an overwhelming 26-6 vote. A version of the bill passed the House as part of the infrastructure package, H.R. 2 Moving Forward Act. In the 115th Congress, the bill had 116 cosponsors, with a nearly even split between Democrats and Republicans.
  • The state-led wildlife recovery efforts funded by this bill will be guided by the Congressionally-mandated State Wildlife Action Plans, which identify specific, science-based strategies to restore the populations of species of greatest conservation need. These plans identify more than 12,000 species that need conservation assistance.
  • Tribal Nations would receive $97.5 million annually to fund proactive wildlife conservation efforts by Tribal wildlife programs and on Tribal lands.
  • The bill requires at least 15% of the funding to be spent on threatened and endangered species. States with the most federally-listed endangered and threatened species, such as Hawaii, will receive significantly more funding from this version of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.
  • The bill complements the highly successful Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson) and Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (Dingell-Johnson), which facilitated the recovery of a range of species including large mammals, game birds, and sportfish that once faced extinction.
  • A 2018 report, Reversing America’s Wildlife Crisis: Securing the Future of Our Fish and Wildlife, found that one-third of America’s wildlife species are at increased risk of extinction. More than 150 U.S. species have already gone extinct and an additional 500 species have not been seen in recent decades and are regarded as possibly extinct.

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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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