Governor Laura Kelly applauds Senators Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall and Representative Sharice Davids for their bipartisan support for the most significant wildlife conservation law seen in nearly half a century: the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA). The bipartisan bill will spend $1.4 billion annually on locally-led efforts — including $17.6 million to Kansas — to help prevent extinction and help endangered species. More than 280 local species would benefit from the bill, including small prairie chickens, barn owls and swift foxes.
Since 2017, Kansas Wildlife and Parks has been advocating for RAWA and its many benefits to Kansas native fauna and plants at risk. The bipartisan bill requires government agencies to work with locally-led wildlife recovery efforts and interested Kansas partners to help conserve sensitive species in Kansas and keep them off protected lists. In Kansas, 98% of the land is privately owned, and KDWP’s staff have the technical expertise and long-standing relationships with landowners who will perform the tasks of improving habitat quality and reversing trends in habitat loss.
“Conserving sensitive species in Kansas is a hands-on project that requires the essential collaboration of our federal delegation, our conservation and conservation organizations, and our local landowners,” Governor Kelly said. “Voluntary programs like these give us the resources we need to support both landowners and the species. I appreciate the work of the Kansas Congressional Delegation to create a healthy environment that supports all of our native plant, fish and animal species.” supports.”
The money to fund the law comes from civil or criminal penalties and fines resulting from violations of environmental and natural resource laws and regulations. At least 15 percent of the funds will be used to help species already identified as endangered or threatened. Federally recognized tribal nations, such as the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas, would share $97.5 million annually to fund conservation efforts on tribal lands.
“We are entering a critical period with many sensitive species rapidly declining. This is the most important piece of wildlife law in the last fifty years because of the help it provides.” Brad Loveless, secretary of Kansas Wildlife and Parks said:† “Ultimately, it’s in everyone’s best interest to help species recover and stay off protected lists. By signing up as co-sponsors of the bill in the House and Senate, Representative Davids and Senators Marshall and Moran are leading the way, and all of Kansas is grateful.”
“The Kansas Wildlife Federation welcomes the involvement of Senators Moran and Marshall and Rep Davids in this two-pronged process. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do something great for wildlife and we thank these lawmakers for being a part of this on behalf of all Kansans,” Jeff Seim, board chairman of the Kansas Wildlife Federation, said.