Letter to Members of the North Carolina Congressional Delegation
We, the undersigned North Carolina groups and organizations, support preventing fish and wildlife from becoming endangered by dedicating general treasury funds annually to the federal Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program. We believe that collaborative conservation is the most effective way to recover wildlife populations and strongly support the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.
Our nation and state have been blessed with a diverse array of fish and wildlife. While some of these species are thriving, many more are facing increasing challenges and are in steep decline. State fish and wildlife agencies have identified 12,000 species nationwide with 457 in North Carolina that are in need of proactive conservation action. With the passage of Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, North Carolina would receive an estimated $26.47 million dollars annually to support species conservation.
At the request of Congress, every state has developed a State Wildlife Action Plan (North Carolina had the first plan in the country) to assess the health of its state’s fish and wildlife and outline conservation actions necessary to sustain them. Time and time again, proactive, collaborative, and voluntary conservation efforts have allowed our nation to recover wildlife species. America has a successful history of bringing wildlife back from the brink of extinction through professional wildlife management combined with collaborative, on-the-ground conservation. A century ago, prized game species like elk, wood ducks, wild turkeys, bighorn sheep and striped bass were at risk of extinction. Now these species are largely thriving, because license fees and excise taxes paid by America’s hunters and anglers have been dedicated to the conservation of their habitat. While collaborative conservation has led to numerous successes, today more than 12,000 wildlife species across our nation are considered “species of greatest conservation need,” as identified by various state fish and wildlife Agencies. These species—such as pollinators, frogs, turtles, songbirds and shorebirds, freshwater mussels, oysters, etc.—often receive neither the attention nor funding sufficient to recover them.
This growing wildlife crisis poses a threat to the vibrant outdoor economy of America and North Carolina. Hunters, anglers, birders, hikers, campers, and backyard wildlife watchers have created a fast-growing outdoor economic base that depends on healthy wildlife populations. Today, the outdoor economy contributes $887 billion to the national economy and $28 billion to our state economy annually, creating 7.6 million direct jobs with 260,000 in North Carolina, and generating $124.5 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue.
The Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources, comprising industry and conservation leaders, recommended that the best way to recover these species of concern is to build upon the conservation model that has produced the remarkable successes for game species by investing a portion of existing energy revenues in proactive, collaborative, voluntary efforts at the state-level. This should be done through the existing Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program, as proposed in The Recovery America’s Wildlife Act. This non-regulatory, collaborative approach is a proven means of recovering species and leverages additional funds through innovative public/private partnerships.
Further, by preventing the decline of species so that they do not require the stricter protections of the Endangered Species Act, businesses will be able to operate with more regulatory certainty and reduced risk. As the decline of numerous species and their habitats across the country worsens, preemptive action can reverse this trend and keep species from the critical, yet often costly, “emergency room” measures required by the Endangered Species Act. This will be especially important to rapidly developing states like North Carolina.
Proactive conservation is good for wildlife, good for taxpayers, good for business, and good for North Carolinians. We encourage you to support the protection of our nation’s fish and wildlife heritage by supporting efforts to direct dedicated funding into the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program through the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.
Alamance County Wildlife Club
Albemarle Conservation and Wildlife Chapter (Elizabeth City)
Albemarle Sound Delta Waterfowl (Elizabeth City)
Arts & Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Audubon North Carolina
Bird House on the Greenway
Box Turtle Collaborative
Cabarrus Brewing Company
Carolina Raptor Center
Carolina Thread Trail
Carolina Wetlands Association
Charlotte Reconnecting Ourselves with Nature
Concord Engineering & Surveying, Inc.
Concord Wildlife Alliance
Coastal Carolina Delta Waterfowl (Bayboro)
Coastal Carolina Riverwatch
Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society
Community Alliance for Wildlife (Charlotte)
Crystal Coast Waterkeeper
Discovery Place Nature
Discovery Place Science
Fish & Wildlife Conservation Council
Friends of Pocosin Lakes
National Wildlife Refuge
Gaston County Piedmont Area Wildlife Stewards
Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
Green Acres Family Farms, LLC
Habitat and Wildlife Keepers (Matthews)
Johnston County Wildlife Association
Julie Jones Team, Realtors (Cornelius)
Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital
Kirk Palmer & Thigpen, P.A.
Lake James Area Wildlife and Nature Society
Lake Norman Delta Waterfowl
Lake Norman Rod and Gun Club
Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists
Law Offices of Robert M. Critz, P.A.
Lee County Wildlife Club
Martingale Manor, LLC
Mecklenburg Audubon Society
Middle Neuse River Delta Waterfowl (Smithfield)
Moccasin Gap Delta Waterfowl (Roxboro)
Mountain Wild! (Asheville)
NC Chapter American Fisheries Society
NC Delta Waterfowl Foundation
NC Falconers Guild
NC Hunters for the Hungry
NC National Wild Turkey Federation
NC State Advisory Council Quality Deer Management Association
North American Land Trust
North Carolina BASS Nation
North Carolina Camouflage Coalition
North Carolina Wildlife Federation
North Central Branch QDMA (Roxboro)
Neuse River Hawks
Pamlico Albemarle Wildlife Conservationists (Washington)
Plastic Ocean Project, Inc.
Ridgeline Development Corporation
Rocky River Trout Unlimited
Sandhills Rod and Gun Club
Smokey Mountain Sportsmen Association
South East NC Delta Waterfowl (Wilmington)
South Wake Conservationists
Southern Piedmont Delta Waterfowl (Albemarle)
Stallings Nature and Wildlife Chapter
Table Rock Trout Unlimited
Team Honeycutt, Realtors
The Avett Brothers
The Carolina Hawking Club
The Conservation Fund
The LandTrust for Central North Carolina
The North Carolina Chapter of The Wildlife Society
The Sedgefield Hunt
The Woodlands at Davidson Development Company
Town Creek Delta Waterfowl (Tarboro)
Triad Delta Waterfowl (Winston Salem)
Triangle Delta Waterfowl
Triangle Fly Fishers
Trips for Kids Charlotte
Twenty-Six Acres Brewing Company
Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation
Wake County Wildlife Club
Watery Swamp Hunt Club