July 12, 2019
A legislative initiative that could make available millions of dollars in new federal funding to protect some of South Carolina’s most vulnerable wildlife species was re-introduced in Congress today by members of the Congressional Sportsman's Caucus.
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) reintroduced the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) with the support of conservation and sportsmen’s leaders. This bipartisan legislation will help promote and enhance our nation’s conservation efforts, and ensure the long-term health of fish and wildlife throughout the country.
“The re-introduction of this bill signifies the recognized importance of this legislation for species of greatest conservation need contained within states’ Wildlife Action Plans,” said SCDNR biologist Anna Huckabee Smith, coordinator for South Carolina’s plan. Passage of RAWA would provide a solid funding source for research, surveys and on-the-ground habitat management to benefit these species in South Carolina and other states.”
Built on the premise that the best way to save America’s wildlife is through collaborative, proactive, on-the ground conversation, RAWA would help recover 12,000 species considered in need, including more than 1,600 species listed under the Endangered Species Act. An earlier version of RAWA was first introduced in 2017 based on recommendations from a panel of conservation and business leaders and was endorsed by the S.C. Natural Resources Board (the policy-making body for the SCDNR) in July of 2018.
About the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act:
- The bill will fund conservation efforts for more than 12,000 species of wildlife and plants in need of assistance by providing $1.397 billion in dedicated annual funding for proactive, on-the-ground efforts in every state and territory.
- The bill will hasten the recovery of 1,600 U.S. species already listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
- Wildlife recovery efforts will be guided by the Congressionally-mandated State Wildlife Action Plans, which identify specific strategies to restore the populations of species of greatest conservation need.
- Tribal Nations would receive $97.5 million annually to fund proactive wildlife conservation efforts on roughly 140 million acres of land.
- The bill complements the highly successful Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson) and Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (Dingell-Johnson), which have facilitated the state-led recovery of a range of large mammals, game birds, and sportfish that faced potential extinction last century.
- A 2018 report, Reversing America’s Wildlife Crisis: Securing the Future of Our Fish and Wildlife, found that one-third of America’s wildlife species are at increased risk of extinction. More than 150 U.S. species have already gone extinct and an additional 500 species have not been seen in recent decades and are regarded as possibly extinct.
- Learn more about RAWA's potential impact in S.C.
- And Nationwide.