Dec. 15, 2021
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) during last Wednesday’s Senate Environment and Public Works Committee spoke highly of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, bipartisan legislation that he is co-sponsoring with 31 other U.S. Senators to invest in conservation work in Arkansas and throughout the nation.
Originally introduced in 2017, RAWA would dedicate about $1.4 billion annually to the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program for proactive, voluntary efforts led by states, territories and tribal nations to prevent vulnerable wildlife from becoming endangered. Each state would be allocated a percentage of the money.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has joined with other wildlife and conservation agencies across the country to identify more than 12,000 species in greatest need of conservation assistance. These are animals that are not yet threatened or endangered, but are suffering population declines which cause wildlife managers concern. Arkansas is home to 380 of those species, including the northern bobwhite, eastern collared lizard and dozens of insects and birds critical to pollinating crops and other plants.
“One of the reasons I am proud to be a cosponsor of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is because it would provide on-the-ground actors, such as farmers and ranchers, conservation organizations, state authorities and tribal governments, with the resources they need to pursue collaborative conservation efforts in their regions,” Boozman said during the hearing.
According to AGFC Director Austin Booth, RAWA represents a rare occasion where conservationists can take a more proactive role in management of wildlife, particularly nongame wildlife, instead of reacting to a crisis when a species is on the brink of extinction.
“The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation has shown that, with the help of hunters and anglers through license sales funding and excise taxes on firearms and ammunition, we can reverse the trend of many declining game species,” Booth said. “RAWA looks to enhance that funding for all species, game and nongame alike. It is our duty to our children to leave our wild places better than we find them, so that they can one day tell us about how valuable conservation is to their lives as well.”
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is supported by more than 1,500 organizations including the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.
In addition to Sen. Boozman’s support, Rep. French Hill (R-AR) has cosponsored the bill that mimics the legislation in the House of Representatives. That bill has 138 cosponsors representing Republicans, Democrats and Independents.
Visit https://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings?ID=E55D32F0-A010-460B-9F50-A04A1F4DD1D5 for a video of the hearing, in which Boozman speaks with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s director about the importance of the bill and what it would mean to conservation as well as the agriculture industry.
Conservation-minded organizations and people from all walks of life have spoken up to support RAWA. Visit the links below to learn more:
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers — IT'S TIME TO RECOVER OUR WILDLIFE
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies — The Association Applauds the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Hearing on the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act