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Landmark wildlife funding bill awaits U.S. Senate action after passing House

The bill would provide money to states and tribes to recover troubled species

Connecticut warbler
Connecticut warblers, which are declining nationally and may be down to a single nesting area in Wisconsin, would be one species that might benefit from federal funding in the Recovering America's Wildlife Act awaiting action by the U.S. Senate.
Contributed / Ryan Brady
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Conservation and natural resource groups are extolling the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act earlier this month, saying the landmark legislation may be the most significant investment in wildlife conservation in a generation.

The next step is the full U.S. Senate. If approved and signed into law, the bill would provide unprecedented levels of funding for states, along with tribal nations, to conserve and recover imperiled wildlife and plant species. The goal of the bill is to bolster troubled wildlife and their habitats before they become threatened or endangered, at which point any recovery becomes more controversial, more difficult and more expensive.

According to the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the bill would strengthen the nation’s conservation legacy by dedicating $1.3 billion annually for state-level conservation and $97.5 million to tribal nations to recover and sustain healthy fish and wildlife populations.

The funds will be used to accelerate the recovery of the more than 12,000 species of greatest conservation need across the country by implementing strategies identified in each state’s federally approved State Wildlife Action Plan.

One-third of the fish and wildlife species in the United States are currently at risk of becoming threatened or endangered. More than 1,000 groups have pledged their support for the bill, including state wildlife agencies, hunter and angler groups, outdoor recreation retailers and environmental organizations, among others.

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“The end result will be healthier habitat that greatly benefits waterfowl and other wildlife, as well as generations of sportsmen and women to come,’’ said Adam Putman, CEO of Ducks Unlimited.

The legislation awaits further action in the Senate, but passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee late last year with bipartisan support.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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