WASHINGTON (July 12, 2019) – “By directing resources to recover species before they reach the brink of extinction, this legislation enables the ounce of prevention that is worth a pound of cure,” said Sarah Greenberger, National Audubon Society’s Senior Vice President for Conservation Policy. “With the world facing a biodiversity crisis, this bipartisan legislation empowering state wildlife agencies could not be more urgent.”
The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, introduced today in the House of Representatives by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) would establish a funding mechanism for the proactive conservation of fish and wildlife. It would direct an annual $1.3 billion to states to help stem population declines of some 12,000 species of fish and wildlife, including more than 800 birds.
For example, the Black-capped Vireo in Texas was recently delisted from endangered status but requires 10 years of monitoring to ensure it continues to remain stable. However, the monitoring is an unfunded mandate and now – without endangered protections – monitoring responsibilities largely fall to those entities that are voluntarily prioritizing this species. In Nebraska, Henslow's Sparrow is ranked as a Tier 1 (most at risk) species under the Nebraska State Wildlife Action Plan. This species relies on tall-grass prairie and prefers large open grasslands. More research is needed to identify optimal prairie size requirements which will help identify conservation priority areas.
The state wildlife agencies on the front lines of wildlife conservation currently rely on revenue from hunting and fishing fees and taxes on supplies, but for that reason typically spend the funds on protecting species that are hunted and fished. While these projects can also benefit non-game species by protecting habitat they share, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would prioritize funding for species that need it most. Every state has a Wildlife Action Plan identifying species of conservation concern ready to implement. States would match 25% of any federal funds they receive through the program, and could then begin to undertake their conservation projects.
Read about birds Audubon identifies as conservation priorities here: https://www.audubon.org/birds/priority.
Read about the species of birds most threatened by climate change here: https://climate.audubon.org/.
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.
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