April 2023 — At-risk wildlife species in Arkansas and all across the U.S. have a renewed chance to avoid future listing under the Endangered Species Act thanks to the recent reintroduction of Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA).
RAWA is a top legislative priority for the Arkansas Wildlife Federation – and hundreds of other conservation partners across the country. This bipartisan bill will invest approximately $1.4 billion annually in voluntary efforts to restore at-risk, threatened, and endangered species – including approximately $15 million to Arkansas.
Species decline isn’t just happening “somewhere else”. It’s happening right here in the Natural State. 377 species in Arkansas are listed as “Species of Greatest Conservation Need”. These species are at a heightened risk of extinction primarily due to habitat loss, extreme weather patterns, invasive species, and emerging diseases.
RAWA will provide much needed funding to support the Arkansas Wildlife Action Plan. The Plan is administered by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission with the support, joint accountability, and expertise of many conservation partners across the state, including Arkansas Wildlife Federation.
Existing federal funding is woefully inadequate resulting in the continued federal listing of species that could have been prevented. In fact, state wildlife agencies have identified 17,000 species in the U.S. that could be headed for Endangered Species listing without interventions. Interventions include filling research gaps and implementing on-the-ground efforts to restore species and improve habitat quality.
Arkansas Senator John Boozman cosponsored this bill last year and we thank him. The bill narrowly missed passing in the final hour, however, and we’re calling upon him to renew his leadership for RAWA as a cosponsor again this year. We urge ALL members of our Arkansas congressional delegation to get this bill passed once and for all.
They can’t wait any longer. The clock is ticking for the Northern bobwhite quail, Eastern collared lizard, Ozark hellbender, lake sturgeon, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, and hundreds of other species native to our state. Wildlife conservation is good for our economy, good for hunters, anglers, and wildlife watchers, and essential to maintaining the healthy ecosystems upon which we all depend.
TAKE ACTION TODAY by contacting your Congressional representatives. Tell them that you are a wildlife voter, and you urge them to support the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act!
To learn more about Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, visit https://arwild.org/recovering-americas-wildlife-act/ and https://www.nwf.org/Our-Work/Wildlife-Conservation/Policy/Recovering-Americas-Wildlife-Act.