Thursday, April 28, 2016

News Release: Bipartisan Members of Congress Urge Colleagues to Support State and Tribal Wildlife Grants to Prevent Endangered Species Listings

Washington D.C. (April 28, 2016) - Senators Mike Crapo (ID) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Congressmen Don Young (AK), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Mike Thompson (CA), and Ron Kind (WI) were joined by 188 of their fellow Members of Congress on a “Dear Colleague” letter to appropriators in support of funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program next fiscal year.

In both letters, Members urged their Subcommittees on Interior, Environment and Related agencies to provide robust funding for the program to support proactive conservation to prevent fish and wildlife from becoming endangered. 

“By emphasizing a proactive approach, the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program supports states and territories in their efforts to conserve at-risk fish and wildlife,” said Dave Chanda, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.  “Early, preventive conservation of at-risk species and their habitats is the most cost-effective investment of taxpayer dollars and most efficient way to address the challenges facing all wildlife today.”

The State & Tribal Wildlife Grants program is the only federal program available to states, territories, District of Columbia and tribes to conserve more than 12,000 fish and wildlife identified in State Wildlife Action Plans as species in greatest need of conservation. State Wildlife Action Plans were recently revised and updated with the best science and rely on funding from the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program for implementation. The program has the support of the 6,475 organizations that make up the ‘Teaming with Wildlife’ coalition, representing millions of conservationists. This investment helps supports jobs and the $730 billion outdoor recreational industry. 

“I’m proud to have led over 150 of my House colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, in calling on appropriators to fully fund the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program in Fiscal Year 2017,” said Thompson. “This program is incredibly effective. And today, when many species are facing decreased populations, we need to fully fund the only federal program designed to prevent species from being listed as endangered.”

“Conservation is at the very core of keeping wildlife off the endangered species list,” said Congressmen Don Young. “By creating a successful partnership between the states, territories, tribal lands, and federal government we can come together in a bipartisan manner to support a proven wildlife management program with unquestionable results”

“We are pleased with the bipartisan support for our nation’s core program to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered. This legislation addresses a pressing issue that both Democrats and Republicans agree on and are working towards forward-thinking solutions,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “This program has been proven effective in the past; as evidenced by such species as the fisher in the Pacific Northwest and the New England Cottontail. Both of these iconic species have been successfully reintroduced and now not under consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act.”   

A total of 194 Members of Congress, including 30 Republicans, 162 Democrats, and 2 Independents from 43 states and territories signed on to the letters this year demonstrating broad bipartisan support for fish and wildlife conservation funding.  The list of members who signed the letters is available here.