TX Wildlife Conservation Funding at Stake in New Bill
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
AUSTIN, Texas — A bipartisan bill aimed at keeping wildlife populations healthy and off the endangered species list is set for markup by the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee this week.
The Recovering America's Wildlife Act would allocate $1.3 billion to state wildlife agencies. And Janice Bezanson, executive director with the Texas Conservation Alliance, said the measure would bring $50 million to Texas every year to protect some of the state's most iconic species.
"From cute little 'horny toads' – which is what we called them when I was a child, they're the Texas horned lizard – to pronghorn antelope, sea turtles, a host of kinds of birds, particularly a lot of shore and ocean birds,” Bezanson said.
State fish and wildlife agencies estimate nearly 12,000 species are currently at risk across the country, primarily due to loss of habitat from development. The legislation would help finance state plans created by a host of stakeholders including conservationists, scientists, ranchers and industry.
Collin O'Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said recent studies, including one that showed a loss of 3 billion North American birds since 1970, have sparked new urgency to invest in preventing costly and disruptive endangered-species listings.
If passed, O'Mara said, the measure would be the most significant piece of wildlife legislation in more than a half century, and would protect the full diversity of the nation's wildlife for future generations.
"So, at a time when most folks are pretty frustrated with Washington, this is one of those areas where Republicans and Democrats can still agree,” O’Mara said, “because there really is no Republican whitetail deer or Democratic smallmouth bass. We all have a stake in having healthy wildlife."
The legislation also would dedicate more than $97 million to tribal wildlife conservation efforts.
The Recovering America's Wildlife Act is co-sponsored by nine Texas representatives, including Republicans Lance Gooden and Pete Olson. Rep. Louie Gohmert, also a Republican, sits on the committee expected to vote on the measure this week.
get more stories like this via email
The coalition known as "Think Babies Michigan" has secured more than $36 million in funding to offer grants to child-care providers for infants and to…
Nearly 100 school board elections are coming up in Minnesota this fall, with some gaining attention because of the candidates who are running…
The so-called conservative "hostile takeover" of a small, progressive liberal arts college in Florida is seeing some resistance from former students …
High rent prices are draining the budgets of many Nebraska renters, who are paying between 30% and 50% of their income on rent. In some parts of the …
As the federal government nears a shutdown over a budget impasse in Congress, Wisconsin offices that help low-income individuals worry they'll have …
Indigenous leaders are traveling through the Northwest to highlight the plight of dwindling fish populations in the region. The All Our Relations …
Washington performs well in a new report scoring states' long-term care systems. The Evergreen State ranked second in AARP's Long-Term Services and …
A lack of housing options, mental-health challenges and a lack of connections and support have combined to drive an uptick in the number of foster …