The U.S. Congress failed just short in December of passing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help protect our national wildlife heritage. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) would have provided Louisiana with around $15.4 million a year to help protect the 362 at-risk species that call the “Sportsman’s Paradise” home.
The bill made sense for Louisiana. It would have helped restore our wetlands, grasslands, and forests. It would have helped improve water quality and address our state’s many invasive species challenges. The legislation empowered states, Tribes, and territories to take the steps needed to begin the process of ensuring a full diversity of fish, wildlife, and plants for future generations.
But there is hope. A new Congress has now arrived in Washington, with legislation beginning back at square one. Many of the differences that kept the bill from passing have been agreed upon, with an opportunity for legislators to examine and finally resolve the needed sources of funding for the bill.
We are at a critical time in our conservation efforts. Emerging diseases, invasive species, and extreme weather threaten wildlife at a scale inconceivable just a few decades ago. Thousands of species of birds, mammals, fish, frogs, turtles, butterflies, and plants are slipping through the cracks.
In Louisiana, the Whooping Crane needs long-term recovery as does the Louisiana Pine Snake and many other lesser-known birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish that are native to our state.
We encourage Louisiana’s Representatives and Senators in Washington, who we know each enjoy and support our natural resources, to help lead this effort and support similar legislation this session.
Executive Director, Louisiana Wildlife Federation