National Wildlife Federation and Natural Resources Council of Maine news release
AUGUSTA— Senator Susan Collins has signed onto a bipartisan wildlife conservation bill, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, that will dedicate $1.4 billion annually to locally led efforts to help at-risk wildlife species nationwide.
“Maine’s rich array of unique and charismatic wildlife is a big part of our state’s outdoor heritage,” said Melanie Sturm, Forests and Wildlife Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “We’re pleased to see Senator Collins once again supporting this common-sense, cost-effective approach for protecting at-risk species as they face growing threats from development, pollution, and climate change.”
The bill would send $11.5 million to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife which the agency will use to implement its wildlife action plan. The plan identifies 378 priority species, including Canada lynx, New England cottontail, Atlantic salmon, and the yellow-banded bumble bee.
“Saving the thousands of at-risk wildlife species will require bold, bipartisan leadership,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We are so grateful to Senator Collins for leading the way on the historic Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. This bill will have an immediate impact—saving species, creating jobs, and protecting our way of life in Maine and all across the country.”
Federally recognized tribal nations, including four tribal nations in Maine, would share $97.5 million annually to fund wildlife conservation efforts.
The injection of funding will support efforts already underway in Maine to protect at-risk species, including the expansion of ecological reserves during last year’s legislative session.
A similar bill passed the House last session, with support from Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared F. Golden. Senators Collins and King also cosponsored a Senate version last session. It passed out of committee but never received a floor vote, despite having 47 cosponsors.
“The federal government plays a critical role in protecting threatened and endangered species.” said Senator Collins in a statement put out by Senator Heinrich’s office. “This legislation provides dedicated funding, which will help recover endangered species in Maine, invest in proactive, on-the-ground conservation, and preserve our wildlife for future generations.”