Around the world, bird populations are declining.
In wildlife action plans submitted to USFWS, state agencies have identified some 8,000 animal species of “greatest conservation need,” including more than 800 birds -- 149 of which depend on Connecticut to safely migrate, nest, and raise their young, like the Peregrine Falcon, Least Tern, and Prairie Warbler.
States play a vital role in conserving and recovering species in decline, before they reach the brink of extinction. The Recovering America's Wildlife Act represents the bold vision our nation needs to address this crisis.
“Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will provide an opportunity for the Wildlife Division to work with our many conservation partners to proactively manage a wide range of species of greatest conservation need," said Jenny Dickson, director of the CT DEEP Wildlife Division.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), would establish a funding mechanism for the proactive conservation of fish and wildlife. It would direct an annual $1.3 billion to states to help stem population declines.
Thank you to the Connecticut representatives cosponsoring this bill: Congressman Joe Courtney, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, Congressman John B. Larson, and Congressmen James A. Himes.
Congresswoman Rosa DeLaura offered her statement of support, saying "At a time when Connecticut’s wildlife species and their habits face formidable threats, I will continue to fight to preserve our nation’s wildlife and their habitats. I also believe that we need to be doing more in terms of our conservation efforts. I will support the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act should it come to the House floor for a vote." Representative Jim Himes offered a public statement of support as well, making him the fifth of five CT-Congressional Representatives to support this important piece of legislation!
Be a voice for America's birds and other wildlife, and our irreplaceable natural resources and environment. Urge your representative to support the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.
Here’s how the proposal works
The act would steer a steady $1.3 billion in existing annual revenue—collected from the general U.S. Treasury fund—into a conservation account that provides permanent, dedicated funding for wildlife conservation that is not subject to annual appropriations. The funding would be disbursed to states based on their population and land area, with the stipulation that no state can receive more than five percent or less than one percent of the pot. States would have to match at least 25 percent of the money they receive.
Currently, state wildlife agencies rely on revenue from excise taxes on hunting and fishing supplies. But since hunters and anglers provide the funding, the money is typically spent on projects designed for the species they pursue. Those initiatives can help non-game animals, too—good Ruffed Grouse habitat is often good Golden-winged Warbler habitat, for example—but some wildlife have unique needs that recreation-based management can’t meet. The new proposal would prioritize funding for species that need it most, game or not.
Every state has a Wildlife Action Plan identifying species of conservation concern ready to implement. This bill recognizes the ingenuity of state fish and wildlife agencies and their ability to foster new, collaborative projects that benefit fish and wildlife on the ground. 10% of the total funding apportioned to states will be allocated through a competitive grants program, such that the most effective and innovative projects for conservation could be implemented.
What you can do to help
Already, business and conservation interest groups including the National Audubon Society, Ducks Unlimited, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) have urged Connecticut’s lawmakers to become original cosponsors of the bill.
Read about the birds Audubon Connecticut identifies as conservation priorities here: https://ct.audubon.org/priority-bird-species.
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