RALEIGH, N.C. (October 11, 2021) — Senator Thom Tillis and Senator Richard Burr are co-sponsoring the most significant wildlife conservation bill in nearly half a century, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA). The bipartisan bill currently has 28 Senate co-sponsors and will devote $1.4 billion annually to locally-led efforts – including over $20 million to North Carolina – to help prevent extinctions and help at-risk wildlife species.
Representatives Rouzer (NC-7), Ross (NC-2), McHenry (NC-10), Price (NC-4), Manning (NC-6), Hudson (NC-8) and Butterfield (NC-1) are among the more than 120 bipartisan supporters of the House version of the legislation. On October 13, the Natural Resources Committee in the House plans to consider this bill.
“States have struggled to meet all of the conservation needs outlined in State Wildlife Action Plans. The goals are daunting and the resources to meet the needs are limited, but the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and our partners are ready to put projects on the ground. We all want the same result – to keep common species common,” explained Shannon Deaton, chief of the Habitat Conservation Division at the Wildlife Commission.
Deaton encourages North Carolinians to join the agency and its partners, like the NC Wildlife Federation, in thanking the nine congressional members for their co-sponsor support with a personal note, email or a tweet with the hashtag #RecoverWildlife. Sharing thanks expresses how important this legislation is to North Carolina. People can learn more about the bill and how to support the initiative at OurNatureUSA.com.
“If this bill passes, we’ll be able to significantly help at-risk wildlife through collaborative, voluntary efforts across every state, territory and Tribal nation,” stated Deaton. “Nearly 500 North Carolina native species would benefit from the bill, including the gopher frog, bog turtle and hellbender. Together, with over 150 partners, we are shaping the reality of our conservation blueprint.”
“North Carolinians can be extremely proud that both of our Senators are among the first to champion this bill, which is the most important piece of wildlife legislation in half a century,” said Manley Fuller, vice-president of Conservation Policy of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. “Conservation has always been bi-partisan and our delegation support demonstrates that North Carolina leads the way once again.”
Nationwide, RAWA will dedicate $1.4 billion annually to locally led wildlife restoration efforts. At least 15 percent of the funds will be used to help species already designated as endangered or threatened. Federally recognized tribal nations, such as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, would share $97.5 million annually to fund wildlife conservation efforts on tribal lands.
“Our efforts on wildlife conservation will contribute to the success of these at-risk species and their habitats. We hope the rest of the Congressional delegation will join Senators Tillis and Burr in co-sponsoring this monumental bill,” said Fuller.