Announcement from the office of Representative Derek Kilmer.
On June 14, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted in favor of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) – bipartisan legislation to provide new funds to help restore and protect wildlife and wildlife habitat in Washington State and across the country. Passing RAWA, Rep. Kilmer voted to get more than $21 million for Washington to help manage the species of fish and wildlife most needed for conservation.
In addition, RAWA will help Washington tribes, as well as state and local partners, address threats to local ecosystems. This includes the threat of the European green crab, an invasive species that is destroying critical marine habitat for Dungeness crab and Pacific salmon, and threatening Washington’s shellfish industry. Last year, more than 102,000 European green crabs were caught in Puget Sound and along the Washington coast, a 5,500% increase from 2019. In response to the crab population explosion green crabs, a series of disaster declarations were made by the Lummi Nation and the Makah Tribe regarding the impact of green crabs on the tribal culture and economy – and another disaster was declared by Washington State to mobilize more resources. RAWA would provide resources to improve detection, increase control efforts and continue the eradication of invasive crabs. Rep. Kilmer spoke in the House in favor of legislation.
“Across Washington State and our country, we are facing a widespread decline in species that not only threatens the health of our ecosystems, but also threatens the recreation, tourism and fishing industries whose our communities depend on them. This is why we must take action to implement bold conservation efforts to protect and restore habitat, reintroduce native species and mitigate risk to wildlife,” Rep. Kilmer said. “In addition, we must help our region combat the invasive European green crab, which is destroying critical marine habitat for Dungeness crab and Pacific salmon and threatening our shellfish industry. That’s why I voted today to give our region more resources to protect wildlife and fight invasive species, while ensuring that the costs are not borne solely by local taxpayers.
State, territory, and tribal governments provide most wildlife management and conservation through their state wildlife action plans, but these plans depend on continued federal funding. and reliable. Currently, federal funding sources, such as the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Act, are widely considered by fish and wildlife professionals to be inadequate.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act:
- Provide tribes with essential funding for wildlife conservation. RAWA provides an annual non-competitive $97.5 million Tribal Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Grant program to help tribes carry out their wildlife conservation and habitat restoration efforts.
- Protect threatened and endangered species. At least 15% of RAWA funding must be spent on species listed under the Endangered Species Act or considered threatened or endangered under Tribal Law.
- Make wildlife conservation more efficient and profitable. Funding from RAWA will help states, territories and tribes put in place conservation measures for species before they become threatened or endangered, making species protection less difficult and less costly. RAWA will also provide much-needed funding for non-hunted species.
- Coping with climate change by building more resilient ecosystems. State action plans for wildlife often include habitat restoration projects (e.g., invasive species removal, wildlife disease control) that simultaneously benefit the health of forests, watersheds, and sides. These improvements help make ecosystems more resilient to severe weather events caused by climate change, including wildfires, hurricanes and drought.
- Boost the outdoor economy. By supporting wildlife conservation, RAWA funds will boost our $887 billion outdoor economy, which already supports more than 7.6 million jobs and is fueled by more than 100 million wildlife enthusiasts, American hunters, fishermen, ornithologists and hikers. A portion of the funds will also support wildlife education.
The legislation passed the House 231-190.