‘Most significant wildlife conservation bill in half century’ passes U.S. House

Texas would receive over $50 million per year to help at-risk wildlife

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, to fund locally-led conservation projects to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered. If the bill is also passed by the U.S. Senate, Texas will receive around $50 million per year to help more than 1,200 species of concern, including Texas Horned Lizards, Guadalupe Bass, and Bobwhite Quail.

“This is the most important piece of wildlife legislation in the past fifty years,” said Janice Bezanson, Senior Policy Director with Texas Conservation Alliance. “Wildlife in Texas and across the country are in serious need of help, and this commonsense bill will tackle the problem at an effective scale, without new taxes or regulations. The yes votes from U.S. Representatives from Texas is a legacy they can be proud of.”

Funding from the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would be used to implement the Congressionally-mandated state wildlife action plans, which have identified more than 12,000 wildlife and plants across the country in need of conservation assistance.

Bezanson notes that the bill could be particularly beneficial for a private lands state like Texas. “This funding could provide more technical assistance for private landowners who want to conduct wildlife studies or improve native rangeland, benefiting livestock as well as wildlife on working lands.”

Through new regional conservation projects, the legislation will create new jobs for wildlife management, tree planting, river restoration, and wildlife reintroductions. It would also connect more Texans and children to outdoor recreation, nature education, and wildlife watching opportunities.

“Nature tourism is huge in Texas,” continued Bezanson. “People from all over travel here to see iconic landscapes and wildlife such as migratory birds. Unfortunately, much of the fish and wildlife that our outdoor recreation economy depends on is declining. We’re also losing animals that are essential to agriculture, like bees that pollinate our crops and bats that help control insect pests. And there are three billion fewer birds in our skies than there were 50 years ago.”

The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate where it has 35 cosponsors and strong bipartisan support.

“I want my grandchildren to be able to hear the whistle of the Bobwhite Quail and see Monarch Butterflies in their backyard, the way I did growing up. I hope that Senator Cornyn and Senator Cruz will support this historic legislation and help get it over the finish line this summer,” said Bezanson.

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