Recovering America’s Wildlife Act – Investing in Colorado’s fish and wildlife

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A nationwide alliance of government, business, education and conservation leaders has united to create a 21stcentury funding model for critically needed conservation of the nation’s most precious natural resources — fish and wildlife. Wildlife management agencies are rallying behind the introduction of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 4647). The recently introduced federal legislation, if passed by the U.S. Congress, would establish funding for the nation’s wildlife.

This bi-partisan bill will redirect $1.3 billion in existing royalties from the development of energy and mineral resources on federal lands and waters to be dedicated to the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (DMI) announced the introduction of this bipartisan bill on Dec. 14 in Washington D.C.

If passed this legislation would bring up to $29 million per year to Colorado. “Colorado’s wildlife, and their habitat, are are among our most cherished resources. This bipartisan effort demonstrates that the future of these resources depends on longterm, sustainable funding.” said Bob Broscheid, Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “The decline of many species and their natural habitats should concern all of us. Many species live in a delicate balance that we have been entrusted to care for.”

This legislative proposal is supported by the Alliance for America’s Fish & Wildlife, an alliance consisting of members representing the outdoor recreation, retail and manufacturing sector, the energy and automotive industries, private landowners, educational institutions, conservation organizations, sportsmen’s groups and state and federal fish and wildlife agencies.

“Colorado Parks and Wildlife is a leader in outdoor recreation and wildlife management. We employ some of the top researchers, biologists and field managers in the world.” said Reid DeWalt, assistant director of wildlife and natural resources for CPW.

“This funding would allow conservation efforts for threatened and endangered species to expand across Colorado in a time when we face unprecedented growth and habitat loss.”

Currently, Colorado has identified 55 Tier 1 species that warrant special attention according to the Colorado State Wildlife Action Plan. These “Species of Greatest Concern Need” represent those that are in need of the highest conservation priority in the state. CPW and all state wildlife agencies need additional funding to collectively conserve hundreds of species. Though the agency will certainly maintain flexibility in responding to evolving conservation needs and scientific knowledge, our best current estimate of how our work will be focused over the coming decade is outlined by conservation actions in the State Wildlife Action Plan. “This funding would be a game changer in non-game species conservation and habitat management.” said Species Conservation Program Manager, Eric Odell.

This bill is being called the most important conservation legislation since the enactment of the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson acts which have long provided crucial funding for fish and wildlife agencies.

“America’s hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and boaters have been the primary funders of statebased conservation efforts to this day,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “This recommendation simply directs funding for conservation from other sectors that use our natural resources.”

“We thank Representatives Fortenberry and Dingell for introducing the historic Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. This bill will help recover thousands of wildlife species through proactive, collaborative, on-the-ground efforts.” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “The approach is unique because it calls for early action to save struggling wildlife, rather than waiting until species are on the brink of extinction. When this bill becomes law, we will increase wildlife populations, strengthen America’s economy, and reduce the need for regulatory measures.”

“Every American benefits when we have healthy and accessible fish and wildlife. We need to start down a new path where we invest proactively in conservation rather than reactively.” O’Mara stated. “At a time when one-third of America’s fish and wildlife species are at risk, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to save thousands of species and ensure that future generations inherit the full diversity of our nation’s wildlife.”

For more information about the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act please visit the alliance national website at OurNatureUSA.com.