HEINRICH, TILLIS ANNOUNCE GROWING BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR RECOVERING AMERICA’S WILDLIFE ACT
May 9, 2023
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) announced that ten senators—four Democrats, five Republicans, and one Independent—have joined them as cosponsors of their bipartisan legislation, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA). This legislation invests in proactive, on-the-ground conservation work led by states, territories, and Tribal nations to support the long-term health of fish and wildlife and their habitats all across America.
“Investing in proactive conservation work well before species ever become imperiled or endangered is something that Republicans and Democrats can agree on,” said Senators Heinrich and Tillis. “We are proud to welcome this support from our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and we are determined to work in partnership to get RAWA across the finish line.”
The new cosponsors of RAWA are U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), and Ted Budd (R-N.C.).
“We have such beautiful wildlife and wildlife habitats in Michigan. For us, it’s a no brainer to invest in conservation, so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy the wilderness we have today for generations to come. That’s why Republicans and Democrats are coming together to introduce this bill to provide states with the funding they need to lead meaningful preservation efforts,” said Senator Stabenow.
“The federal government plays a critical role in protecting threatened and endangered species,” said Senator Collins. “This legislation provides dedicated funding which will help recover endangered species in Maine, invest in proactive, on-the-ground conservation, and preserve our wildlife for future generations.”
“In Delaware and across our country, wildlife and their habitats are treasured resources that support a booming wildlife recreation economy. At the same time, scientists continue to warn us that an alarming number of species face uncertain futures without further conservation efforts,” said Senator Tom Carper, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “I am proud to join Senators Heinrich and Tillis as a co-sponsor of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which would provide states, federal agencies, and our conservation partners with much-needed resources to work together to protect vulnerable wildlife. My hope is that we can build on our work from the last Congress to advance the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act and ultimately send this bipartisan legislation to the president’s desk.”
“Preserving the wildlife and natural resources of South Carolina is crucial not only for the benefit of future generations, but it’s a vital source of local economic growth. Furthermore, by providing important resources, this legislation will support habitat restoration across South Carolina by voluntarily bringing together private and public stakeholders,” said Senator Lindsey Graham.
“Nevada is home to a diverse range of wildlife that rely on our beautiful outdoors and critical habitats,” said Senator Rosen. “Climate change and wildfires, which have significantly increased in frequency and severity in recent years, are threatening our wildlife and natural landscapes. That’s why I joined my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation to ensure state wildlife agencies have the resources they need to implement conservation efforts.”
“This legislation acknowledges and empowers states, tribes and private landowners to manage and implement voluntary species and habitat recovery efforts in Kansas and across America’s heartland,”said Senator Moran. “Our state and local managers know their land better than the federal government. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a critical investment to support voluntary recovery efforts and avoid unnecessary additions to the endangered species list.”
“Healthy ecosystems are the centerpiece of our public lands and the thousands of jobs created by Montana’s $7.1 billion outdoor economy, and I’ll always lead with the science when it comes to supporting wildlife in the Treasure State,” said Senator Tester. “I’m proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this effort, and I look forward to getting it across the finish line so that Montana families can enjoy our great outdoors for generations to come.”
“Arkansas is home to some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities in the country. I’m proud to support this legislation because investing in the preservation of wildlife and habitat ensures future generations will be able to enjoy these popular pastimes through collaborative conservation efforts,” said Senator Boozman.
“Arizona’s outdoors – including our parks, trails, and wildlife – are part of what makes our state so great. Our bipartisan legislation creates strong careers, supports our hunters and anglers, and grows our economy – all while ensuring future generations of Arizonans can enjoy our state for years to come,” said Senator Sinema.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will be a key tool for States, territories, and Tribes. The recovery work funded by RAWA will be guided by the wildlife conservation strategies and plans developed by states, territories, and Tribes. These science-based strategies would restore populations of species with the greatest conservation need. State, territorial, and Tribal wildlife agencies have identified more than 12,000 species in need of conservation assistance. Existing federal funding support is insufficient and fails to provide the resources required to meet all of these needs.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA):
- Funds conservation efforts for more than 12,000 species of wildlife and plants in need of assistance by providing $1.4 billion in dedicated annual funding for proactive, on-the-ground efforts across the country.
- Provides Tribal nations $97.5 million annually to fund proactive wildlife conservation efforts on roughly 140 million acres of land.
- Ensures wildlife recovery efforts will be guided by the Congressionally-mandated State Wildlife Action Plans, which identify specific strategies to restore the populations of species of greatest conservation need.
- Accelerates the recovery of approximately 1,600 U.S. species already listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
- Includes improvements to ensure funds are appropriately targeted to the areas of greatest need and facilitate additional investments in protecting at-risk plant species.
RAWA is supported by over 60 Tribes and 1,500 organizations representing state fish and wildlife agencies, sportsmen and women, conservation groups, and industry associations and businesses.
- Senators Heinrich and Tillis introduced the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act on March 31, 2023. U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) will be leading the legislation in the House. Senator Heinrich first introduced RAWA alongside former-U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) in 2021. The Senate bill was voted out of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) in 2022.
- On Earth Day, the Joint Economic Committee released an issue brief on how the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would help the United States avoid costly species recovery efforts and continue to support habitat restoration efforts, resulting in environmental and economic benefits.
- The Washington Post recently profiled some of the “uncharismatic” species—such as hellbender salamanders and Appalachian crayfish—whose habitat the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would support so they can avoid being listed under the Endangered Species Act.
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