This week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 2773), marking the furthest this critically important bill has progressed in Congress as a stand-alone effort. Led by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Co-Chair Rep. Debbie Dingell, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a longstanding priority of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), who has been a driving force behind the legislation since its conceptual stages in 2015.

In 2015, CSF President and CEO Jeff Crane was tapped to serve as one of the Legislative Co-Chairs by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources, the coalition who developed the framework that led to Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. Today, the Blue Ribbon Panel is represented by the Alliance for America’s Fish & Wildlife, and CSF not only serves as an active member of the Alliance, but also continues to serve as a leading advocate to move this bill through the legislative process on Capitol Hill.

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act seeks to provide nearly $1.4 billion annually for proactive, non-regulatory conservation projects in every state, territory, and on tribal lands and waters. This bill would be one of the most significant investments in fish and wildlife conservation in a lifetime. Specifically, funding provided through H.R. 2773, combined with a 25% non-federal match, would fully fund each state’s Congressionally mandated State Wildlife Action Plan. Collectively, these plans have identified nearly 12,000 Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including many iconic species such as northern bobwhite quail, monarchs and other pollinators, gopher tortoise, sturgeon, and countless waterfowl species, all of which need a dedicated source of conservation funding before more regulatory and costly measures are necessary.

“Right now, the United States is facing an unprecedented biodiversity crisis,” said Congresswoman Dingell.  “We’ve already seen our nation’s beautiful monarch butterfly population plummet, and we’ve lost nearly 3 billion birds since 1970. Without a significant change in the way we finance conservation, more of the animals and wildlife we hold dear to our heart will become endangered. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is landmark legislation that takes long-overdue action to address this crisis by using innovative, on-the-ground collaboration that will protect our nation’s environmental heritage. We have a conservation, economic, and moral obligation to act in order to protect and recover America’s wildlife for future generations. I am grateful to the broad, bipartisan coalition that has fought for this legislation, and I urge the Senate to act on this bill right away.”

“Today’s passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a clear result of the tireless leadership of CSC Co-Chair Rep. Debbie Dingell, who continues to spearhead this much-needed legislation, and CSF is proud to work with her to move this bill out of the House,” said CSF President and CEO Jeff Crane. “This bipartisan bill represents a smart, cost-effective effort to proactively conserve fish and wildlife species to turn the corner before more expensive and burdensome measures are needed.”

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation will continue to work with CSC House Co-Chair Rep. Debbie Dingell and CSC Senate Co-Chair Sen. Martin Heinrich, the Senate bill sponsor, to move this legislation through the Senate and ultimately to the President’s desk to be signed into law.