It stands to reason: Helping species recover before they reach endangered status is easier than saving them only once they near the brink of extinction.
That’s the rationale behind the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, introduced in the Senate in July by Sens. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, and Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat. The bill would allocate more than a billion dollars each year to state fish and wildlife agencies, as well as tribal governments, funding proactive work to stop species’ decline before their numbers drop dangerously low.
“When species decline, they lose the genetic variation that makes them resilient to environmental changes, and saving the species becomes that much harder,” said Environment America Conservation Advocate Alex Petersen. “The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act gives states the resources they need to prevent species’ decline before they hit the endangered species list.”
State wildlife agencies have identified more than 12,000 species in need of conservation measures.
Photo: Among the conservation efforts the policy would fund: protecting nesting habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker. Credit: Domenic Sherony via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0