Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Not Included in Final Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Not Included in Final Omnibus Appropriations Bill

The final omnibus appropriations bill was completed in late December and included several last minute policy inclusions, however efforts to attach the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) to the bill failed in spite of an aggressive push by conservation organizations and congressional sponsors. The legislation would have dedicated over a billion dollars annually for state fish and wildlife agencies to implement their State Wildlife Action Plans and additional funding for Tribal wildlife conservation efforts.

“It has been an epic year for Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA), with positive actions in both the United States House and Senate,” said Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “Unfortunately, as close as we came to the goal line, it didn’t quite work out. As disappointing as that is, we will get back in the ring in the new year and continue our advocacy for sustained, broader funding on behalf of state fish and wildlife agencies. Our thanks to Senators Heinrich and Blunt and Representative Dingell for their vibrant, rich, and incredible leadership – truly remarkable – and to the many conservation partners across the country for their unflinching support for this legacy bill.” Regan added, “Given all the good will and support for RAWA in both chambers and among both parties, I sincerely hope the Congress will work quickly in the new year, right at the outset, to bring this legislation to fruition as speedily as possible.”

The omnibus bill did include the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act that authorizes funding for CWD research and to help states and Tribes combat the disease. The bill authorizes $70 million annually from Fiscal Year 2022 through Fiscal Year 2028 for research and management of CWD, with the money to be split evenly between research and management. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will administer the funds through cooperative agreements. The bill also includes authorization for USDA and state and tribal agencies to develop educational materials to inform the public on CWD and directs USDA to review its herd certification program (HCP) within 18 months of passage.

“The passage of the CWD Research and Management Act is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication by conservationists across the country,” said Nick Pinizzotto, NDA’s President and CEO. “New dollars for state management and additional research into CWD are desperately needed, as evidenced by the disease’s continued spread in 2022. Time is of the essence as we continue to seek ways to manage this terrible disease.”

January 13, 2023