HARRISBURG, PA--Bipartisan legislation was reintroduced Dec. 14 in the U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C., by Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) that would dedicate $1.3 billion in funding to help states address the needs for thousands of fish and wildlife species in trouble across America.
Patterned after the Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 2000, which narrowly failed to clear Congress, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 4647) proposes to provide assured and sufficient funding to states to proactively conserve imperiled species identified in State Wildlife Action Plans.
It is being championed by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources, a think-tank of 26 energy, business and conservation leaders assembled in 2014 by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which serves North America’s state and provincial wildlife management agencies.
If approved, the Act’s new funding model would dedicate $1.3 billion annually, out of more than $10 billion in revenues from traditional and renewable energy development and mineral development on federal lands and waters, toward fish and wildlife conservation.
Pennsylvania currently receives about $1.5 million in federal State Wildlife Grant funds annually to manage the state’s 664 fish and wildlife species of greatest conservation need and their associated habitats. Under the proposal, Pennsylvania would receive a guaranteed annual federal fish and wildlife conservation payout of about $34 million to better address the outlined conservation actions for these species. Every Pennsylvanian benefits when we have healthy and accessible fish and wildlife.
GAME COMMISSION SUSPENDS SEEDLING SALES TO PUBLIC
Tree and shrub seedlings from the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Howard Nursery will not be offered for sale to the public in 2018 due to drastically low inventories.
Seedlings will continue to be supplied to participants in the Seedlings for Schools Program, as well as to landowners who open their lands to public hunting through the Game Commission’s Hunter Access Program, but there are too few seedlings to offer for public sale.
The Game Commission hopes to resume seedling sales to the public in 2019.
The existing seedling shortage is due to germination failure in a couple of conifer species.
The Game Commission’s annual seedling sale – a way to benefit wildlife statewide by improving habitat – has been popular with the public. Sales typically open in mid-January, and the variety of seedling offered varies from year to year.
Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans acknowledged many will be disappointed with the suspension of seedling sales to the public, but staff is working to build inventory in hopes the existing shortage will result only in a one-year layoff.
“And in 2018, Pennsylvania’s state game lands as well as the Seedlings for Schools and Hunter Access programs will continue to receive seedlings that make for better wildlife habitat statewide,” Burhans said.