Initiatives

Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act

WHAT: Legislation sponsored by Senator Udall in the Senate and Representative Gallego in the House authorizing the use of wildlife corridors on Indian land to provide habitat or ecological connectivity and allow for fish, wildlife, or plant movement on such land.  Introduced in the 116th (H.R. 5179 and S.2891).  

TRIBAL IMPACTS: Bill permits an Indian Tribe to nominate a corridor within the land of such tribe as a tribal wildlife corridor.  Department of the Interior must establish criteria for determining whether such a corridor qualifies as a tribal wildlife corridor.  Interior must provide tribes with technical assistance to establish, manage, or expand a tribal wildlife corridor.  Interior must (1) establish a program to award grants to tribes to increase connectivity through tribal wildlife corridors and (2) consult with tribes to determine whether a tribal wildlife corridor may be expanded into public lands or otherwise benefit connectivity between public lands and such corridor.  The bill permits the Department of Agriculture to give priority under certain conservation programs to those projects that enhance connectivity by expanding a tribal wildlife corridor.

NAFWS: 2019 Resolution 19-002 passed to support for the Protection of Wildlife Corridors  NAFWS Executive Director, President, Regional Directors and several members are active members of a Tribal group in partnership with NWF.  The same group is also working with USFWS staff to review and recommend changes to the Secretarial  Order 3362 so_3362_migration.pdf (doi.gov) to make it more inclusive for federally recognized Tribes.

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS: The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is soliciting proposals for projects that enhance and improve the quality of state-identified, or tribal-identified, priority big-game habitat, stopover areas and migration corridors on federal land and/or voluntary efforts on private and tribal land. For more information, follow this link.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: August 
23, 2021
Contact: Adán Serna, 
press@lujan.senate.gov

Luján Introduces Legislation to Protect Tribal Wildlife Corridors and Support Wildlife Management Efforts

Nambé, N.M. – U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, announced the introduction of the Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act to fund wildlife migration corridors and provide Tribal Nations with resources to carry out on-the-ground work to develop and maintain wildlife corridors. Tribal lands and waters provide a vital habitat for hundreds of wildlife species, many of which need to travel considerable distances to meet their needs. U.S. Representative Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) introduced companion legislation.

The Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act would establish a process for identifying Tribal wildlife corridors and authorize $50 million per year for a Tribal Corridors Grant Program to ensure that Tribal Nations have the resources for implementation and maintenance of wildlife corridors. It would also increase coordination with federal agencies, states, Tribal governments, and private landowners and work to ensure the property rights of Tribal nations and private landowners.

“The challenges posed by the climate crisis threaten migrating wildlife species and crucial wildlife corridors,” said Senator Luján. “It’s crucial that Tribal Nations have the resources needed to develop and maintain migration corridors and effectively manage wildlife. I’m proud to introduce the Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act to support these efforts, address the climate crisis, and protect our wildlife.”

In addition to Luján, this legislation is co-sponsored by Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.). More than 20 Tribal organizations and Tribal Nations have endorsed the legislation.

“Wildlife do not recognize the jurisdictional boundaries between tribal, federal, state and private lands,” said Elveda Martinez, president of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society. “The Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act not only acknowledges tribal sovereignty and the wildlife conservation expertise of tribes, but will also encourage cross-jurisdictional collaboration to ensure the health and movement of wildlife populations.”

“There has been a historic lack of equity in natural resource conservation funding for tribes, even though tribes manage millions of acres of wildlife habitat,” said Garrit Voggesser, tribal partnerships director for the National Wildlife Federation. “Representative Gallego and Senator Luján’s leadership in introducing the Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act is an important step to recognizing the significant role tribes play in protecting wildlife and providing much needed resources to bolster their conservation efforts.”

“In providing essential resources to Native Tribes to enhance wildlife connectivity and support habitat restoration, this important legislation also benefits public land users by encouraging cross-jurisdictional collaboration between Tribes, states and federal agencies so as to ensure an ecosystem-wide approach to management of big-game and critical wildlife habitat,” said Andrew Black, public lands field director for the National Wildlife Federation.

The full text of the legislation is available HERE.

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In Recognition of Their Support

Native American Fish and Wildlife Society would like to thank those organizations that provided us with support over the years. With them we grew an effective national communications network for the exchange of information and management techniques related to self-determined tribal fish and wildlife management.

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