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Dingell Joins Conservation, Sportsmen’s Leaders to Urge Action on Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) today convened leaders from Michigan’s sportsmen’s community and wildlife conservation groups and officials from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources at the Detroit Zoo to highlight the need for improved species conservation and call on Congress to pass the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA). Dingell and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01) introduced the bipartisan legislation, which received overwhelming support in the House Natural Resources Committee last week, to conserve at-risk species in every state.

“In Michigan, our state’s fish and wildlife are some of our most valuable resources – supporting jobs, the recreation economy, and our outdoor heritage,” said Dingell. “At a time when one-third of all wildlife species in the United States are at risk of extinction, including species native to Michigan like the Kirtland’s warbler, monarch butterfly and lake trout, we all need to work together to proactively protect wildlife and habitat. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act takes a proven approach to conserve at-risk species before they land on the endangered species list, where recovery is ultimately more costly and restrictive. We are glad to have support from a broad coalition of sportsmen and conservation groups in Michigan and nationwide working to pass this important bill and will continue working together to move it across the finish line.”

The group toured the Detroit Zoo’s bald eagle habitat, a conservation success story, and participated in a roundtable discussion on Michigan’s latest Wildlife Action Plan and how the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would help species recovery in Michigan.

"The RAWA is really important to conservation in Michigan for a couple reasons,” said Amy Derosier, wildlife lead on Michigan’s Wildlife Action Plan at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “We need to keep species off the endangered species list, and this funding allows us to do proactive conservation that benefits rare species and species that are hunted. Also the fact that part of the funding goes to outreach and recreational development is important to help connect Michiganders with nature"

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the top priority of the National Wildlife Federation,” said Mike Shriberg, executive director of NWF’s Great Lakes Regional Center. “Passing this bill would be the key step in reversing the decline of America’s wildlife.”

“Michigan's hunting community is in full support of the Recovering America's Wildlife Act,” said Daniel Eichinger, executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs. “Passing this federal legislation will greatly extend the purchasing power of sportsmen generated conservation funds and it will set in motion our Wildlife Action Plans which are designed to keep species off the list of endangered species, preventing disruptive and expensive management actions."   

Dingell was also joined by Randi Meyerson, deputy chief of the Life Sciences/Detroit Zoological Society; Dr. Paul Buzzard, field conservation officer at the Detroit Zoological Society; Tom Schneider, curator of birds at the Detroit Zoological Society; Dan Kennedy, endangered species coordinator at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources; and Brent Rudolph, director of conservation policy at the Ruffed Grouse Society.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act builds off the successes of landmark conservation programs including Pittman-Robertson, Dingell-Johnson and the Land and Water Conservation Fund by providing states the additional resources they need to proactively manage at-risk wildlife species. It would dedicate $1.3 billion annually in existing revenue from oil and gas royalties to the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program to provide states with new critically needed financial resources to effectively implement State Wildlife Action Plans to conserve 12,000 species in greatest need of conservation while providing the public with more access to open spaces.

Without a change in the way we finance fish and wildlife conservation, the list of federally threatened and endangered species is expected to grow from nearly 1,600 species today to thousands more in the future. The new dedicated funding created by the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is aimed at preventing wildlife from becoming endangered to ensure the long-term health of all fish and wildlife that provide countless hours of outdoor enjoyment for the nation’s citizens.

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