Yesterday, on Earth Day, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) was introduced in Congress. The bipartisan bill will dedicate $1.3 billion annually to state fish and wildlife agencies and an additional $97.5 million for tribal fish and wildlife managers. The passage of this act would provide dedicated funding to conserve fish and wildlife species of greatest conservation need – before federal listing under the Endangered Species Act is warranted. In addition to protecting valuable natural resources, this bill would also create an estimated 33,000 jobs throughout the United States each year.
“What better way to celebrate Earth Day than with the introduction of this landmark wildlife funding bill,” said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. “The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would allow us to accelerate recovery of more than 362 species at risk of extinction in our state. Louisiana is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, and these resources would help to ensure we can preserve this heritage for current and future generations.”
RAWA would provide approximately $16 million to Louisiana annually, thereby allowing LDWF to accelerate conservation efforts outlined in the Louisiana Wildlife Action Plan. This plan has been implementing proactive, voluntary, successful conservation since 2005; however, its implementation has been limited, because of inadequate funding.
RAWA funds would be used to accelerate recovery of at-risk species by addressing critical data gaps. By conducting surveys and research projects, LDWF biologists would collect the additional data required to best manage species and their habitats, reduce key threats, and promote population increases.
Some examples of the species at risk in Louisiana are: Louisiana Pearlshell (mussel), Louisiana Pinesnake, Alligator Snapping Turtle, Frosted Elfin (butterfly), and Black Rail (bird).