“I’m thrilled that Congress is finally starting to make the bold investments needed to confront the wildlife extinction crisis,” said Stephanie Kurose, a senior policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity.“The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a significant down payment on recovering thousands of imperiled animals and plants. It will help so many species that have been neglected by state wildlife agencies for far too long.”
Under the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, states would receive $850 million for fiscal year 2023, $1.1 billion for 2024, $1.2 billion for 2025, and for fiscal year 2026 and each year thereafter, they will receive $1.3 billion. The dedicated funding will go to proactive, on-the-ground conservation projects to help species of greatest conservation need in their state. The bill also provides $97.5 million for wildlife conservation efforts on Tribal lands and secures additional short-term funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The legislation has improved significantly since it was first introduced in 2016 and now ensures that states with the most difficult conservation challenges receive the greatest amount of funding. For example, Hawaii — home to nearly one-third of all the animals and plants on the endangered species list — will receive $60 million per year, the largest share that a state may receive. Southeastern states will also receive significant shares of funding to address the freshwater extinction crisis.
Threatened and endangered species will receive dedicated funding under the Act, as will plant species that are too often overlooked by state fish and wildlife agencies.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s own data and recovery plans, saving all species currently listed as threatened or endangered will require $1.6 billion to $2.3 billionper year. This is a major improvement from the status quo, which allocates less than $1,000per year to the protection and recovery of hundreds of endangered species.
“Unfortunately, House and Senate appropriators have made it clear that saving endangered species is not their top priority,” said Kurose. “The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is now our best chance to combat extinction in the United States.”