Conservation News

Boone and Crockett Club Thanks House Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman for Wildlife Funding Bill

House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R, AR-04) has introduced his America’s Wildlife Habitat Conservation Act. This bill would authorize $300 million annually for the next five years for state and tribal fish and wildlife agencies to accomplish the goals outlined in wildlife action plans. The bill would also make several positive amendments to the Endangered Species Act. 

“The Boone and Crockett Club applauds Chairman Westerman’s leadership in addressing nationwide issues in managing and conserving wildlife habitat,” said Tony Schoonen, CEO of the Boone and Crockett Club. “His leadership in authoring the America’s Wildlife Habitat Conservation Act is a positive step towards securing dedicated funding for state and tribal wildlife agencies.” 

Importantly, the bill also would rectify the misguided 9th Circuit Court Cottonwood decision, which has allowed serial litigators to stop projects on National Forests – timber sales and restoration projects alike. Previous attempted fixes have failed. Litigators are still forcing endangered species consultation on forest plans even though consultation occurs on each project. The Cottonwood ruling has delayed or halted hundreds of projects across entire National Forests, including in Montana, Idaho, and New Mexico. Fixing this issue is a top priority of the Boone and Crockett Club’s forest health agenda.

In line with the Club’s position on endangered species, the America’s Wildlife Habitat Conservation Act would also incentivize species conservation on private lands by codifying Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurance (CCAA’s). Further, this legislation would provide incentives to delist recovered species by requiring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to establish objective recovery goals that would return species to state management incrementally in preparation for delisting. 

“These common-sense amendments to the Endangered Species Act will facilitate species recovery and help prevent extinctions – a goal that has been central to the Boone and Crockett Club since our founding in 1887,” said Schoonen. “Our members have and will continue to play a leading role in innovative species recovery, conservation, and management in this country and we are proud to support the latest steps in this endeavor.” 

The bill would also grant additional authorities to FWS to improve National Wildlife Refuge System management, modeled after the stewardship and good neighbor authorities that have been granted to other bureaus of the Interior Department and the Forest Service. 

“We remain committed to working with the Chairman and his counterparts in the Senate to support a bipartisan, bicameral solution to the complex issues of wildlife conservation as well as the loss and degradation of their habitat,” concluded Schoonen. 

Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include enlarging and protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Montana. Click here to learn more about the Boone and Crockett Club.

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