Cuts to Conservation Funding Puts Wildlife in Even Greater Danger
Washington, D.C. ”Despite historical successes in bringing many wildlife species back from the brink of extinction, other species at risk have continued to decline as evidenced by the staggering numbers listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. The Continuing Resolution, HR 1, which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, would eliminate funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program, the nation’s most cost-effective programfor preventing all wildlife from declining to the point of being endangered.“While HR 1 cut spending to many important programs, elimination of funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants and the North American Wetland Conservation Fund was shocking and will be magnified because state fish and wildlife agencies and their partners use these funds to leverage tens of millions of dollars in non-federal fundsto put more conservation on the ground,” said Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. “More than 12,000 species that are known to be at-risk will be put in further peril if funding is not restored to these important programs.”
The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program provides each state and territory with an average of $1.2 million annually to conserve fish and wildlife that are in decline and may be headed towards endangered species listing.According to the Government Accountability Office, once listed, the average cost of recovery of a single species can exceed $125 million.
The proposed elimination of funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program comes at a time when state fish and wildlife agencies are increasingly challenged to address the impacts of invasive species, habitat loss and degradation and the effects of climate change on wildlife.
“These extreme cuts endanger wildlife and our way of life. State and Tribal Wildlife Grants also protect jobs and local economies tied to the $45 billion wildlife recreation industry. Hunters, hikers, campers, nature watchers, natural resource managers, anglers and all outdoors enthusiasts will lose out if State and Tribal Wildlife Grants are stripped of funding”, said John Kostyack, Vice President, Wildlife Conservation for the National Wildlife Federation.
The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program, now in its 11th year, has served as a stable federal funding source for implementing congressionally required State Wildlife Action Plans in every state and territory. Each unique Plan assesses the health of the state’s wildlife and habitats and outlines the actions needed to conserve species of greatest conservation need and the full array of wildlife over the long term.
“Even in these difficult financial times when we all must shoulder some of the burden, we still need to ensure wildlife and vital habitats are conserved for the benefits they bring to Americans through cleaner and healthier environments and the legacy we leave for future generations,” said Michael Hutchins, Executive Director/CEO of The Wildlife Society. “Congressional funding for State and Tribal Wildlife Grants also goes hand-in-hand with job creation and economic sustainability since more than half a million U.S. jobs center around wildlife conservation and wildlife-related recreation.”
Funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program is supported by the Teaming With Wildlife coalition, a national coalition of 6,300+ conservation organizations and nature-based businesses including state fish and wildlife agencies, hunters and anglers, birdwatchers, hikers and other conservationists.
For more information about State and Tribal Wildlife Grants and State Wildlife Action Plans, go to www.teaming.com.
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The 6,300+ member Teaming With Wildlife coalition (www.teaming.com.) is working to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered by supporting funding for wildlife conservation, education and nature-based recreation.