April 20, 2022 by Keith Worrall
Amended April 20, 2022 at 11:16 am
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (April 19, 2022)—Johnny Morris and the Bass Pro Shops outdoor family of companies are proud to stand with America’s sportspeople to secure the future of the resources we all depend on.
Today, we rise together to celebrate that the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, the most impactful conservation law in 50 years, was passed by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week. with a vote of 15 to 1. It builds on the foundations of conservation that have served our country so admirably over the past 85 years. It will fundamentally improve natural resource management and create a dedicated funding vehicle to sustainably strengthen conservation across the country for generations.
Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops and renowned environmentalist, co-chaired the Blue Ribbon Panel that led to the formulation of the law. We now stand with hunters and anglers, the backbone of American conservation, in applauding the bipartisan support the law is receiving in the House and Senate.
Beyond codifying how conservation is funded in America for the next 50 years—creating a dedicated annual budget of $1.4 billion (without imposing new taxes)—the law showcases the value of wild places and sporting heritage on a truly national stage. The bill’s near-universal support also illustrates the unifying power of nature and the great outdoors. According to a recent Data for Progress national poll, some 91% of Americans support conservation and 84% of those polled support the bill.
This broad base of support for the future of wildlife in America not only crosses political lines, but also transcends race, age, gender, and socioeconomic background. As important as this legislation is for athletes, clean air and unpolluted water are good for every American.
Background to the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act
Our country’s wildlife resources are increasingly in demand for a variety of reasons. These challenges are compounded by an outdated and largely inadequate system of funding for conservation in America. In response to these challenges, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies created the 28-member Blue Ribbon Panel on the Sustainability of America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources. Co-chaired by Johnny Morris and Dave Freudenthal, the former governor of Wyoming, the panel was made up of national business and conservation leaders from a variety of backgrounds.
The expert panel identified the need to create a dedicated and consistent mechanism to fund the work of state fish and wildlife agencies. Such a reliable source of funding would not only provide the resources needed by state agencies to execute conservation efforts, but allow them to plan strategically for success.
The 28-member Blue Ribbon Panel on the Sustainability of America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources met at Big Cedar Lodge, America’s first wilderness resort, in 2015.
The panel proposed to dedicate $1.39 billion a year to fund fish and wildlife conservation in the United States. Rather than imposing a new tax, this conservation funding would come from redirecting a portion of the environmental penalties and mitigation funds paid annually to the federal government. The Blue Ribbon Panel and its recommendations were the first step in the groundswell that grew into the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.
Along with the change in funding mechanism, the law calls for a landscape-scale approach to management. Rather than looking at conservation in terms of a single species or two, agencies are encouraged to manage interconnected systems that take into account all the plant, animal, aquatic and terrestrial resources therein. From grasslands to rivers and wetlands and from pollinators to big game, Recovering America’s Wildlife Act mandates the management of habitats for the benefit of all species that depend on them.
In terms of real-world impact, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is transformative. It represents a deliberate investment in the future of our country. This investment will not only improve and restore wildlife, but strengthen our country’s role as a world leader in conservation. After all, access to wild places is an essential component of American identity. It always has been.
How you can help
Johnny Morris and the Bass Pro Shops family of outdoor companies remain committed to ensuring the passage of this incredibly important legislation. We would like to thank and acknowledge the sponsors of the bill, Senator Roy Blunt (R) of Missouri and Senator Martin Heinrich (D) of New Mexico, for their leadership, commitment and vision on behalf of all current and future generations of Americans who love the outdoors. We also thank and acknowledge our many prominent conservation partners, including Collin O’Mara of the National Wildlife Federation and Jeff Crane of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, whose work and support continues to be instrumental in bringing the project to fruition. of law. Most importantly, we thank American athletes for their continued and unwavering commitment to conservation. Together we can move mountains.
To express your support for Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, contact your senator today. The next step in the process, the passage to the Senate, should take place in May or June.