AZ Conservationists Back Bipartisan 'Recovering America’s Wildlife Act'
Monday, April 26, 2021
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Conservation groups are hailing Congress' new Recovering America's Wildlife Act as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to protect at-risk species from what scientists warn could be a mass-extinction crisis.
The $1.4 billion measure would boost funding for the Wildlife Action Plan in Arizona and other states to help preserve thousands of vulnerable species.
Scott Garlid, executive director, Arizona Wildlife Federation, sees money from the Act as an investment to help thousands of already threatened or endangered animals and keep others off the list.
"We can pay a little bit now, and we can help the species that need it the most, or, if we choose not to do anything, these species are going to end up on the threatened and endangered list," Garlid contended. "We're going to face much more dire and expensive consequences down the road."
An updated version of the bill filed in the U.S. House last week would fund conservation in all 50 states, restoring habitats, reintroducing native species and battling diseases. An additional $97 million is earmarked for wildlife preservation on tribal lands.
The bill has bipartisan support in Congress. Garlid noted the measure will help Arizona protect dozens of iconic species.
"Arizona is actually in a position to get a tremendous benefit from this," Garlid remarked. "I think the last estimate was $34 million that would go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department to help them manage the species that they identified as species of greatest concern."
Collin O'Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, believes the Act will fund the type of cooperative efforts that, in past decades, helped preserve numerous species.
"The goal of the Recovering America's Wildlife Act is to invest in that collaborative, on-the-ground conservation work that's been so successful for species like deer and wild turkeys and elk," O'Mara explained. "Using those same practices to restore the full diversity of wildlife."
Funding from the Act will augment traditional wildlife revenue streams such as state hunting and fishing licenses and taxes on hunting and fishing gear. It is expected to create thousands of jobs both at wildlife agencies and in the outdoor-recreation industry.
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