LINCOLN, Nebraska — Sen. Deb Fischer has signed onto a bipartisan wildlife conservation bill, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which will dedicate $1.4 billion annually to locally-led efforts to help at-risk wildlife species in Nebraska and nationwide.
Approximately $17 million would go to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and be used to implement its wildlife action plan, a cooperation with organizations and landowners interested in financial and technical assistance to address conservation concerns and improve fish and wildlife habitat. Private lands could receive funds for efforts that focus on Nebraska’s species of greatest conservation need and maintain diverse ecosystems, such as the Sandhills and other important grasslands.
Roughly 770 local at-risk species would benefit – including long-billed curlews, swift fox and Blanding’s turtles.
Several wildlife conservation organizations expressed their gratitude for Fischer’s support of the bill, a historic effort bringing together fish and wildlife agencies, businesses, organizations and landowners for common goals.
“We thank Sen. Fischer for co-sponsoring this landmark bipartisan effort,” said Nebraska Game and Parks Director Jim Douglas. “This bill provides needed funding for the conservation and care of all of Nebraska’s fish and wildlife through collaborative, voluntary efforts among private landowners and our many partners. This funding source will help recover at-risk species and ensure future generations can enjoy thriving fish and wildlife populations.”
The Nebraska Audubon Society noted the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would be an important part of how it responds to the three billion birds lost over 50 years in North America due to a variety of factors, including loss of nesting habitat. That loss has negatively impacted grassland birds particularly.
“The dedicated funding provided in this bill will use practical solutions that are a good fit in Nebraska,” said Kristal Stoner, vice president and executive director in Nebraska for the National Audubon Society. “It is critical to proactively conserve vulnerable species, such as the Sandhill crane, golden eagle and greater prairie-chicken. We thank Sen. Fischer for her leadership.”
Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, echoed that sentiment.
“Saving the thousands of at-risk wildlife species requires bold, bipartisan leadership and unprecedented collaboration,” O’Mara said. “We are so grateful to Sen. Fischer for leading the way on the historic Recovering America’s Wildlife Act that will have an immediate impact – saving species and creating jobs in Nebraska and all across the country.”
Federally recognized tribal nations, such as the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, would share $97.5 million annually to fund wildlife conservation efforts on tribal lands.
Representative Jeff Fortenberry is one of the lead sponsors of the House version of the legislation, and Representative Don Bacon is among the more than 100 bipartisan supporters of the bill.
For more information on the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, visit NWF.org.