From Backcountry Hunters & Anglers:
WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives voted 231-190 today to advance a seminal funding bill that would help conserve populations of at-risk species of fish and wildlife.
The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, or RAWA, would invest an annual $1.3 billion in state fish and wildlife management agencies and provide an additional annual $97.5 million for tribal management. In doing so, it would support critical conservation work, enhance fish and wildlife habitat and boost America’s outdoor recreation economy. RAWA builds on the legacy of generations of sportsmen and women who have funded conservation through excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment and the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers commended the efforts of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), in securing this afternoon’s House passage, setting up a subsequent Senate vote on a conservation bill that BHA described as “unprecedented.”
“Hunters and anglers have been vocal proponents of the need for targeted investments in species recovery,” said BHA Conservation Director John Gale. “The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the product of decades of hard work and dedicated collaboration by a range of diverse stakeholders, including sportsmen and women, conservationists and business leaders. The moment to ensure this bill’s passage into law is upon us.
“State and tribal wildlife action plans have lacked critical funding for far too long.” Gale continued. “RAWA’s scope and potential benefits are unprecedented. This legislation will finally equip states and tribes to draw on a broad range of proven management practices, such as active restoration, invasive species removal, research, watershed management and collaborative management across state lines and tribal lands, to effect successful species recovery.”
State and tribal wildlife agencies have demonstrated the ability to successfully restore habitat for iconic game species, including Tule elk in California, harlequin ducks in Montana, northern pintails in Kansas and many others. While not all at-risk species are game species, they share the same habitat with critical game animals like mallards, mule deer, pronghorn and wild trout. Improving habitat for one species benefits all of them, including wild game.
“Backcountry Hunters & Anglers thanks the House of Representatives for today’s vote,” concluded Gale. “Now all eyes turn to the Senate, where we urge similarly foresighted leaders to build on this momentum and advance the bill to the president’s desk.”
RAWA’s progress in the 117th Congress has resulted from a broad coalition of stakeholders, the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife, focused on addressing at-risk species while also improving hunting and fishing opportunities. RAWA’s Senate sponsors, Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), remain vocal regarding the need to quickly advance the legislation into law.
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