Today the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted to advance its portion of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act (S.659) that would renew important investments in conservation for fish, waterfowl, migratory birds, and other wildlife. Combined with a bill that would enhance public access to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting, which passed the Energy and Natural Resources Committee in November 2015, today’s actions cement a path forward for a vote of the full Senate on the comprehensive Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act.
“Today’s vote was an important step toward improving habitat and access, which translates to more opportunities for sportsmen across the country to live out our unique outdoor heritage,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “We’re very pleased to see that conservation has support in the Senate at a critical time for our nation’s land, water, and fish and wildlife resources.”
The committee approved reauthorization of two conservation grant programs with matched-dollar incentives: the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) and the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act. Each federal dollar invested in these grant programs is matched, on average, three times over by non-federal dollars that have major on-the-ground impacts for the conservation of wetlands, waterfowl, and other wildlife.
Senators also approved proposed amendments to the original bill that would reauthorize the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a congressionally-chartered grant-making organization that works with public and private stakeholders, and the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act, created to foster partnerships to improve fish habitat and enhance recreational fishing opportunities.