Kansas delegation backs ‘most important wildlife conservation bill’ for nearly 50 years
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – What has been called the “most significant wildlife conservation bill” in nearly half a century has the support of Kansas’s two U.S. senators and the only congresswoman.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says she applauds the senses. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) along with Congresswoman Sharice Davids (KS-03) for their bipartisan support for the most significant wildlife conservation bill seen in nearly 50 years.
Governor Kelly said the Recover US Wildlife Act will dedicate $1.4 billion each year to locally-led efforts to help prevent extinction and help wildlife species at risk. This includes $17.6 million for the Sunflower State. She said more than 280 local species would benefit from the bill, including small prairie chicken, barn owl and swift fox.
Since 2017, Governor Kelly said the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has been advocating for RAWA and its benefits to the state’s wildlife and at-risk plants. She said the bill would require state agencies to work with local wildlife restoration efforts and interested Kansa partners to help conserve species in Kansas and exclude them from protected lists.
In Kansas, Governor Kelly said 98% of the land is privately owned, and KDWP staff have the technical expertise and long-standing relationships with landowners who will complete the tasks of increasing the quality and the quantity of habitable habitats.
“The conservation of sensitive species in Kansas is a bridge project, requiring vital collaboration from our federal delegation, our restoration and conservation organizations, and our local landowners,” Governor Kelly said. “Voluntary programs like this give us the resources we need to support both landowners and species. I appreciate the work of the Kansas Congressional Delegation to create a healthy environment that supports all of our native species of plants, fish, and animals.
According to the Kansas governor, the money to find the bill comes from civil or criminal penalties and fines resulting from violations of environmental and natural resource laws and regulations. At least 15% of the funds will be used to help species already listed as endangered or threatened.
Governor Kelly said federally recognized tribal nations, like the Potawatomi Nation of the Prairie Band and the Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas, would share $97.5 million each year to fund wildlife conservation efforts on tribal lands.
“We are facing a critical period with many sensitive species in precipitous decline. This is the most important wildlife legislation in fifty years because of the help it offers,” said Kansas Wildlife and Parks Secretary Brad Loveless. “Ultimately, helping species recover and get off protected lists is in everyone’s interest. By signing on as co-sponsors of the bill in the House and Senate, Rep. Davids and Senators Marshall and Moran are leading the way, and all of Kansas is grateful.
“The Kansas Wildlife Federation is delighted with the commitment of Senators Moran and Marshall and Representative Davids to this bipartisan process. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a unique opportunity to do something great for wildlife, and we thank these lawmakers for being a part of it on behalf of all Kansans,” said Kansas Board Chairman Jeff Seim. Wildlife Federation.
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