Our natural resources provide innumerable benefits to human health and economic prosperity. As wildlife populations decline and our natural landscapes are degraded, these benefits are compromised. Nationwide, experts have identified more than 12,000 Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including over 1,300 here in Texas. The majority of these are at-risk fish and wildlife -- like the Texas horned lizard, Guadalupe bass, and Red-headed woodpecker.
Unfortunately, America lacks a dedicated funding stream to conserve vulnerable fish and wildlife. We are in danger of losing the ecological benefits of these species and the tremendous economic value of healthy ecosystems. The Recovering America's Wildlife Act, H.R.3742, offers an incredible opportunity to protect these species and their habitats throughout the country.
The Recovering America's Wildlife Act would provide $1.3 billion per year from existing revenues to wildlife conservation programs in the various states, and $97.5 million to tribal nations. It could fund land conservation, research, habitat restoration, outdoor recreation, education programs, and much more. Of this, Texas would be eligible for more than $50 million per year to implement the Texas Conservation Action Plan and help stabilize the at-risk fish and wildlife in our state.
Each state has completed a Wildlife Action Plan designed to help recover species in decline and prevent the need for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The Recovering America's Wildlife Act would provide the funding needed to effectively implement these plans.
This legislation is supported by a wide range of business and conservation interests. Investing in preventative conservation helps avoid regulatory road blocks to development and industry, and the high costs of recovery when species become endangered.
The Recovering America's Wildlife Act would also fuel our booming outdoor recreation economy, and protect nature’s benefits, such as clean rivers, pest control, and pollination services. In Texas, outdoor recreation results in $52.6 billion in annual consumer spending and generates 411,000 jobs. The over $50 million per year in federal funds that Texas would be eligible to receive, coupled with a 25% non-federal match, would translate into new jobs, increased funding for conservation, support for habitat restoration, and numerous other benefits to Texas fish and wildlife.
Funding for Texas - The Recovering America's Wildlife Act would provide $1.3 billion per year nationally to states, including more than $50 million to Texas, to recover imperiled fish and wildlife species and restore habitats.
No Tax Increase - The money would come from existing revenues, so there would be no new taxes. Preventative fish and wildlife conservation is a smart investment to protect nature's benefits, which support our economy, agriculture, health, and quality of life.
Local Control - The funds will be administered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to fund qualified projects conducted by conservation organizations, land trusts, universities, nature centers, private landowners, and others.
Good for Business - This funding will create jobs, encourage nature tourism, and avoid expensive recovery costs when species are listed as threatened or endangered.
Working Lands - Funds from the Recovering America's Wildlife Act would be available through cost-share programs to manage brush and improve native rangeland conditions that benefit cattle as well as wildlife.
Outdoor Recreation - A portion of funding could go towards outdoor recreation and nature education programs that engage Texans in learning about wildlife and the local environment.
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