Sen. Tillis Supports Bipartisan Bill to Galvanize Wildlife Conservation, Help Prevent Extinctions

Carolina northern flying squirrel

Senator Thom Tillis is co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill that will fund locally led efforts to help prevent extinctions and help wildlife thrive nationwide.

“We’re facing a looming wildlife crisis, and this is by far the most important piece of wildlife legislation we’ve seen in the past half-century,” said Tim Gestwicki, CEO of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. “We thank Senator Tillis for cosponsoring this fiscally responsible effort to help at-risk wildlife with collaborative, voluntary measures across every state, territory and Tribal nation.”

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would send approximately $25 million to North Carolina each year to help the state’s 500 species of concern, including the Carolina northern flying squirrel, red-cockaded woodpecker and Appalachian cottontails.

“Saving the thousands of at-risk wildlife species will require bold, bipartisan leadership and unprecedented collaboration,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We are so grateful to Senator Tillis for leading the way on the historic Recovering America’s Wildlife Act that will have an immediate impact saving species and creating jobs in North Carolina and all across the country.”

Nationwide, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act dedicates $1.4 billion annually to locally led wildlife restoration efforts. At least 15 percent of the funds will be used to help species already considered endangered or threatened. Federally recognized tribal nations, such as the Eastern Band of Cherokee, would share $97.5 million annually to fund wildlife conservation efforts on their lands. The tribe is part of the nation’s first Native Fish Conservation Partnership working collaboratively for the Sicklefin Redhorse, a rare fish species endemic to the Hiwassee and Little Tennessee River basins.

“We hope Senator Richard Burr, who previously led the charge for permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, will demonstrate that wildlife conservation is an issue that unites North Carolinians by joining Senator Tillis in cosponsoring this commonsense bill,” said Gestwicki.

Wildlife conservation support

From the mountains to the coast of North Carolina, there are approximately 1,500 species of wildlife and 6,000 plants. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has identified nearly 500 wildlife species in need of conservation action, including restoring habitat, removing invasive species, addressing wildlife diseases, reducing water pollution or mitigating climate change.

Upon the RAWA’s passage, the US Fish and Wildlife Service would distribute $25 million annually to NCWRC to implement North Carolina’s Wildlife Action Plan. Partnering organizations such as NCWF will then be eligible to apply for funding for existing plans that directly benefit at-risk wildlife. More than 100 North Carolina businesses and organizations signed a letter supporting the bill to our state’s congressional delegation.

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