EDGEFIELD, SC — United States Senators Martin Heinrich, DN.M., and Thom Tillis, RN.C., reintroduced the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. This legislation invests in proactive conservation work on the ground led by states, territories, and tribal nations to support the long-term health of fish and wildlife and their habitats throughout the United States. These locally driven, science-based strategies would restore the species most in need of conservation.
“Passage of RAWA would boost conservation of our beloved natural resources on an unprecedented scale,” said NWTF Co-Executive Director Kurt Dyroff. “The NWTF commends Senators Heinrich and Tillis for their bipartisan work and for bringing this important legislation back to the front of Congress, and we look forward to signing this landmark bill into law in the very near future.”
RAWA would amend the Pittman-Robertson Act to direct a guaranteed allocation of nearly $1.4 billion to states and tribes to restore vulnerable species.
After a tremendous multi-year effort in 2022, the American Wildlife Recovery Act came very close to passage, but negotiations for a source of funding fell apart at the last minute. RAWA would supplement existing Pittman-Robertson funding, not replace it, allowing excise tax dollars on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment to remain focused on game conservation, recruitment and access hunters, as well as the development of shooting ranges. In 2021, these taxes generated $1.1 billion for the state’s conservation efforts, maintaining the hunting and hunting community’s status as America’s most hardcore conservation heroes.
Natural resource conservation was one of the biggest winners from the 117th Congress with strong bipartisan support, showing that natural resources and wildlife conservation are unifying issues that bring both sides of the aisle to the table. As the 118th Congress progresses, natural resources remain a rallying point for bipartisan work.
“Over the past several years, the outdoors has proven to be a true unifying force in Congress,” Heinrich said. “I am proud of the momentum and widespread bipartisan support we built with Senator Blunt in the last Congress, and I look forward to doing the same with Senator Tillis as we work to bring this bill to the finish line.
“Without enough resources, state and tribal wildlife agencies have been forced to choose which species are worth saving. Instead of doing the proactive work that is necessary to keep wildlife populations healthy on the front lines, they have been forced to use reactive measures to rescue species after they are listed as threatened or endangered. We urgently need to change this paradigm and save thousands of species with a solution that matches the magnitude of the challenge. The US Wildlife Recovery Act offers us a constructive way forward. RAWA’s approval will mean our grandchildren will be able to experience the same rich and abundant American wildlife, from bumblebees to bison, that we have been fortunate to grow up with.”
Added Tillis: “Congress has a long history of championing conservation efforts across the US to protect our unique landscape and wildlife population. Today, we are facing another crisis with too many fish and wildlife being placed on the endangered species list, negatively impacting businesses, farmers, and landowners. This situation must be avoided at all costs, and RAWA gives state and tribal wildlife commissions the tools to conduct proactive conservation on the ground to prevent endangered species. This is the first step in a long road to building consensus, and I look forward to partnering with Senator Heinrich and my colleagues in Congress to work on this legislation so we can avoid those situations and keep more fish and wildlife off the species list. in danger of extinction. save tens of millions of dollars in compliance costs for Americans and protect our country’s rich natural resources.”
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested more than half a billion dollars in wildlife conservation and has conserved or improved more than 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to advance wildlife conservation, forest resiliency, and robust recreational opportunities across the US by working beyond borders at the landscape scale.
2023 is the 50th of the NWTFhe anniversary and an opportunity to push the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. for his 50he anniversary, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and the people of NWTF; and raise $5 million to build a $50 million endowment for the future. Find out how you can help us achieve these lofty goals.