WASHINGTON, DC — Wildlife conservation efforts across Arkansas may see a dramatic boost in the near future, thanks to the passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act by the U.S. House of Representatives last week.
The act was included as an amendment to the Moving Forward Act package, an effort to stem the surge in unemployment in the wake of COVID-19 by creating new jobs repairing and improving our nation’s infrastructure. The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R.3742), also known as RAWA, will benefit the nation’s economy by creating as many as 33,500 new jobs annually, supporting future economic growth in the outdoor recreation sector through infrastructure improvements, and increase resiliency and recovery of imperiled species and their habitats.
According to a release by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the new jobs created from infrastructure improvement work are relatively small compared to the massive effects healthy wildlife habitat have on our nation’s economy.
Championed by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), RAWA has seen 182 bipartisan members of the House of Representatives join as cosponsors.
“The $1.4 billion annual investment from the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would lead to an additional $3.36 billion of economic output…every federal dollar spent on species and habitat restoration would generate 2.4 times more money for the national economy.
“By directing funds to State Wildlife Action Plans through the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, America will be fueling shovel-ready projects that immediately create jobs in a sector with one of the highest returns on investment and support continued world-class outdoor recreation opportunities.”
Much more importantly, RAWA will serve as a much-needed funding source for habitat management benefitting all wildlife.
Chris Colclasure, deputy director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, says the act would mean a greatly increased