Honolulu — Senator Brian Schatz has signed onto a bipartisan wildlife conservation bill, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, that will dedicate $1.4 billion annually to locally-led efforts to help at-risk wildlife species nationwide.
“We’re facing a looming wildlife crisis, and this is the most important piece of wildlife legislation in the past fifty years,” said Moana Bjur, Executive Director, Conservation Council For Hawaii. “We thank Senator Schatz for co-sponsoring this bold, bipartisan effort to help at-risk wildlife with collaborative, voluntary measures across every state, territory and Tribal nation.”
The bill will send $59.1 million to the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), which the agency will use to implement its wildlife action plan. Roughly 6,252 local species would benefit – including the ‘īlio-holo-i-ka-uaua (Hawaiian monk seal), Koholā (humpback whale), and U’au (Hawaiian petrel).
“Funding the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would be a game-changer for fish and wildlife in Hawaii and throughout the country,” said David Smith, Administrator, Hawaii DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife. “With climate change impacts upon us, it is an important time for all levels of government to work together to protect our critical natural habitats, and provide the capacity for adaptive management. We work closely with the Hawai’i congressional delegation and our national partners on these issues, and appreciate Senator Brian Schatz’ co-sponsorship of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act to protect and preserve our nation’s wildlife heritage.”
“Saving the thousands of at-risk wildlife species will require bold, bipartisan leadership and unprecedented collaboration,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We are so grateful to Senator Schatz for leading the way on the historic Recovering America’s Wildlife Act that will have an immediate impact – saving species and creating jobs in Hawai’i and all across the country.”
At least 15 percent of the funds will be used to help species already designated as endangered or threatened. Federally recognized tribal nations would share $97.5 million annually to fund wildlife conservation efforts on tribal lands.
Representative Kaiali’i Kahele is among the more than 100 bipartisan supporters of the House version of the legislation.
“Wildlife conservation is an issue that unites all Americans. We hope Senator Hirono and the rest of the Hawai’i delegation will join Senator Schatz in cosponsoring this commonsense bill,” said Bjur.
Contact: Lacey McCormick, National Wildlife Federation, 512-203-3016, firstname.lastname@example.org