NICE RECOVERY

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, Currently Winding Its Way Through Congress, Would Significantly Aid Louisiana’s State Wildlife Action Plan

story by TREY ILES, LDWF Public Information

Biologists with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries see daily what the impact of declining habitat in the state does to our precious wildlife resource. It’s why LDWF has taken a proactive approach in preserving land and wetlands to increase and improve quality habitat for fish and wildlife.

The LDWF State Wildlife Action Plan provides a blueprint to do just that. Funding, however, can be difficult in keeping LDWF proactive in its quest to preserve wildlife.

But help may be on the way.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, introduced to Congress in December of 2017, would bring $18 million per year to Louisiana to conserve more than 700 nongame fish and wildlife species and their habitats in our state.

U.S. Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced House Bill 4647 (HR 4647), or the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act in December of last year. The legislation, currently winding its way through the legislative process, proposes to provide state fish and wildlife agencies with $1.3 billion annually to implement state wildlife action plans. The source of funding is royalties and revenues collected from energy and mineral development on federal lands and waters. The bill would not require taxpayers or businesses to pay more but instead allows all Americans to become investors in fish and wildlife conservation.

“This legislation would bolster our Wildlife Action Plan which seeks to conserve our wildlife and its habitat,’’ LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said. “Going from $600,000 to $18 million annually would give us the capacity to fully implement that plan for nongame and threatened species and habitat in our state. We’ll be able to achieve some major conservation plans and objectives.”

It currently costs the American public hundreds of millions of dollars each year to restore threatened and endangered species, costs that could be avoided or greatly reduced if proactive conservation measures were implemented. Proactive conservation is good for wildlife, good for taxpayers, good for business and good for our communities. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, supported by the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, would provide the needed resources for proactive conservation nationwide.

“Our state Wildlife Action Plan outlines conservation strategies to help address the decline of Louisiana species and habitats,’’ said Amity Bass, LDWF Director for Coastal and Nongame Resources Division. “This funding will allow states to address wildlife conservation issues and keep species off the Endangered Species List.

“What it means is that we will get dedicated funding. Every year right now, the state wildlife grants’ program is what helps us to implement the State Wildlife Action Plan. We never have anything dedicated and we never have adequate funding to take some really big conservation steps.’’

A wide range of species have benefitted from the state wildlife grants program funding in Louisiana, including the Louisiana black bear, bald eagle, whooping crane, swallow-tailed kite, alligator snapping turtle, Mississippi diamondback terrapin, Calcasieu painted crawfish, Louisiana pearlshell mussel and painted bunting.

In April of 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisted the Louisiana black bear thanks to the hard work of LDWF and its partners, just one example of success with the grants program.

These critical efforts are supported by the Alliance for America’s Fish & Wildlife, whose purpose is to create a 21st-century funding model for critically needed conservation of our nation’s most precious natural resources, our fish and wildlife.

This effort was built upon the strong partnership created by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources, consisting of members representing the outdoor recreation, retail and manufacturing sector, the energy and automotive industries, private landowners, educational institutions, conservation organizations, sportsmen’s groups and state and federal fish and wildlife agencies.

“Each of us, as citizens of this country, has the responsibility to ensure diverse fish and wildlife resources are managed for future generations,’’ said Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops. “Fish and wildlife need healthy habitats to thrive, enhancing our lives and providing many other benefits. State fish and wildlife agencies have a solid track record of accomplishing remarkable recovery and restoration successes since the early 1900s. However, enhanced funding is now needed to address today’s fish and wildlife habitat management challenges.”

Not since enactment of the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson acts, which provided critical funding for fish and wildlife on the brink of extinction, has there been an opportunity to pass legislation of such importance to protecting what is every American’s birthright, our great natural heritage. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the most important conservation legislation in a generation.

“At a time when one-third of America’s fish and wildlife species are at risk, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to save thousands of species and ensure that future generations inherit the full diversity of our nation’s wildlife,’’ said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “This bill will help recover thousands of wildlife species through proactive, collaborative, on-the-ground efforts.

“The approach is unique because it calls for early action to save struggling wildlife, rather than waiting until species are on the brink of extinction. When this bill becomes law, we will increase wildlife populations, strengthen America’s economy and reduce the need for regulatory measures.”

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For more information, visit
OurNatureUSA.com

For more information on Louisiana’s State Wildlife Action Plan, go to
www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/
wildlife-action-plan
or contact Sam Holcomb at
sholcomb@wlf.la.gov

ABOUT AFWA
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest. The Association represents its state agency members on Capitol Hill and before the Administration to advance favorable fish and wildlife conservation policy and funding and works to ensure that all entities work collaboratively on the most important issues. The Association also provides member agencies with coordination services on cross-cutting as well as species-based programs that range from birds, fish habitat and energy development to climate change, wildlife action plans, conservation education, leadership training and international relations. Working together, the Association’s member agencies are ensuring that North American fish and wildlife management has a clear and collective voice.

Archives

Recent Posts