The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) is currently racing through Congress with unprecedented bipartisan support. RAWA could bring $50 million to the state to help protect wildlife, restore land and give Texans more ways to enjoy the outdoors. Help is needed to get RAWA to the finish line. The public is encouraged to contact their U.S. senators and representatives to vote “yes” for this important legislation.
On a national level, RAWA would provide $1.4 billion in dedicated annual funding for proactive collaborative efforts by state and tribal wildlife conservation initiatives to support at-risk wildlife populations and their habitats. The funding would come from existing revenues without new taxes or government programs.
State agencies throughout the country have identified 12,000 species in need of conservation assistance in federally approved State Wildlife Action Plans. These plans would help guide spending from RAWA. Additionally, tribal nations would receive $97.5 million annually to fund proactive wildlife conservation efforts on tens of millions of acres of land. At least 15 percent of the resources would be used to recover species listed as threatened or endangered.
“The litany of ways natural resources bolster the Texas economy and improve our quality of life is seemingly endless,” said Carter Smith, Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “Studies show property values can increase up to 20 percent when adjacent to natural areas. Natural buffers make coasts and communities more resilient to intense storms and flood events, thereby protecting our citizens and saving billions of dollars in recovery costs. While it would do much to protect fish and wildlife that need it most, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would also mean a long-term investment in the public health and well-being of all Texans, as well as stewardship of our home ground.”
According to the Outdoor Industry Association, the Texas outdoor recreation economy annually generates 327,000 jobs, $14.4 billion in wages and $3.5 billion in state and local tax revenue. People travel from all over the world to see Texas’ iconic landscapes and unique wildlife, generating nature tourism revenue. Additionally, RAWA would send $50 million in grant funds flowing across Texas to nonprofit organizations, nature centers, universities, landowners, fish and wildlife management agencies and many others for projects to conserve vulnerable wildlife before they become endangered.
Unfortunately, the outdoor recreation industry depends on many fish and wildlife species that are declining including birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, plants and more. If RAWA passed, it could bring additional resources toward projects involving much loved animals like the monarch butterfly, brown pelican, and the ocelot. It would also allow for additional research projects including but not limited to horned lizard reintroductions, bracted twistflower conservation and surveys for new bee species.
Passage of RAWA would provide the funding needed to greatly expand habitat restoration on public and private lands, which in turn will support wildlife and critical habitat animals use to feed, nest, and live and help reverse course for declining wildlife species.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is strongly supported by the Texas Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife, a statewide coalition of more than 165 diverse organizations and businesses, the National Wildlife Federation, The Wildlife Society, and the American Fisheries Society.