December 15, 2017
On December 14, Representatives Fortenberry (R-NE) and Dingell (D-MI) introduced Recovering America's Wildlife Act, H.R. 4647. This bill had been originally introduced in 2016. It makes funds available for conservation and restoration programs to manage fish and wildlife species of greatest conservation need. CWF has actively supported this concept and then the original bill since early 2016. Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission had passed a resolution in August 2016 in support of the concept. The Colorado State Wildlife Action Plan identifies 55 tier 1 "species of greatest conservation need."
The funds would be $650 million from Outer Continental Shelf (off-shore drilling) revenues and $650 million from on-shore drilling revenues. Colorado Parks and Wildlife would receive approximately $29,808 million, subject to raising non-federal matching funds.
Here is the text of the bill:
Here is CWF's press release -
Bipartisan Bill in Congress to Address Wildlife Crisis Colorado Parks and Wildlife Would Receive $29 Million Annually Contact: Suzanne O'Neill, Colorado Wildlife Federation 303-919-3949 cell Denver CO (December 2017) – The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, introduced by Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI), would direct $1.3 billion of existing revenue from oil and gas activities on federal lands and waters towards state-led efforts to address native species of greatest conservation need to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered. Factors such as habitat loss, invasive species, disease, and severe weather have taken a significant toll on birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies and bees. Colorado would receive $29,808,471 annually from such dedicated fund, subject to a required non-federal 25 percent match, to help Colorado's 159 native species of greatest conservation need under Colorado's State Wildlife Action Plan. The Plan was developed collaboratively by Colorado Parks and Wildlife in consultation with landowners, businesses, diverse organizations and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Right now, America’s wildlife are in crisis and need our help,” Collin O’Mara, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation, said about the bill. “At a time when one-third of America's 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. We thank Representatives Fortenberry and Dingell for introducing this historic Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.” “We know Colorado can do a great job recovering wildlife populations in our state when the funding is available. We’ve seen that with the recent reintroduction efforts of stocking Greenback Cutthroat Trout in several streams along Colorado's Front, said Bob Meulengracht, board member of Colorado Wildlife Federation." Suzanne O'Neill, executive director of Colorado Wildlife Federation said, "This bill will enable robust collaborative work led by Colorado Parks and Wildlife to maintain and increase populations of species of greatest conservation need in our state and go a long way to prevent listings as threatened or endangered. Wildlife like mountain plover pika, golden eagle, and our state fish, the greenback cutthroat trout, will benefit — and so will our ecosystems and the substantial outdoor recreation segment of Colorado's economy." “We need to get this bill passed and I hope Colorado's members of the House and our senators will support it enthusiastically for future generations of Coloradoans. Colorado's population is estimated to increase from 5.5 million to 8.5 million by 2050, decreasing the habitat of many of these species. Let's all work together to get this right for Coloradoans of 2050.” The legislation builds upon the successes of the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson) and the Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration Act (Dingell-Johnson) that have allowed America to lead the world in the conservation of game species, such as deer, elk, bighorn sheep, wild turkeys, and many species of waterfowl and sport fish.