H.R. 4647, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, recently introduced in Congress, gives Americans the opportunity to solve our growing wildlife crisis. Despite successful recoveries of species such as bald eagles and Rocky Mountain Elk, thousands of species of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects are in decline due to a lack of available funding for research and management. Across the country, 15,000 species have been identified as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN), meaning they are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered. 1,310 of these species call Texas home, among them pronghorn, black bear, loggerhead sea turtles, Texas horned lizards, golden-cheeked warblers, and the American bumblebee.
The bi-partisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (LINK), introduced by Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI), will dedicate $1.3 billion annually in existing royalties from energy and mineral production on federal lands and waters to wildlife programs. These funds will be distributed to the state natural resource agencies to implement State Wildlife Action Plans such as the Texas Conservation Action Plan. These plans are specifically designed to conserve at-risk species and keep them off of the threatened and endangered list. Texas’ share of the funding is estimated at more than $60 million per year.
To help secure passage of H.R. 4647, please take the following steps:
1. Contact your U.S. Representative and urge him/her to co-sponsor H.R. 4647!
2. Ask the members of your organization or business to contact their representatives.
If passed, the resulting funds can be used for habitat restoration, land acquisition, conservation easements, research, landowner incentives, education, outreach, technical guidance, and wildlife-based recreation, as long as these activities benefit SGCN species.
“Protecting wildlife and enhancing the space so wildlife can flourish not only is right in itself, but it brings extraordinary benefits to us for both recreation and hunting,” Fortenberry said.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act follows the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources. This Panel, comprised of national business, energy, and conservation leaders, was convened in 2015 to identify a sustainable funding mechanism for fish and wildlife conservation. In March, 2016, the Panel recommended that $1.3 billion in existing revenue from energy and mineral production on federal lands and waters be used to support the implementation of State Wildlife Action Plans in every state.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a potential game-changer for America’s wildlife. The funding represents our best chance to build a safety net for all fish and wildlife, while at the same time reducing the regulatory uncertainty and added cost for businesses of having species on the endangered species list.
“The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would bring much-needed funding to Texas to benefit wildlife without creating a new tax,” said Rob Denkhaus, speaking for the Texas Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife. “It’s a win for wildlife, a win for businesses, and a win for all of us who care about our natural resources.”
The Texas Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife is a coalition of more than a hundred organizations. Together they represent over a million Texans speaking with one voice support wildlife conservation Texas. The Texas Alliance invites you to join our efforts to ensure that Texas has adequate resources to conserve our at-risk fish and wildlife species, and the habitats they depend on. For more information, visit the Toolkit section of our website.