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June 22, 2023

Collins, King Back Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Maine’s Wildlife

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King are cosponsoring bipartisan legislation to expand aggressive, on-the-ground conservation work that protects Maine’s wildlife. The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) would invest in conservation strategies led by states, territories, and Tribal nations to support the long-term health of fish and wildlife habitats all across America. These locally-driven, science-based strategies would restore species with the greatest conservation need.

“There are few greater joys than exploring Maine’s great outdoors, taking in untouched landscapes, and enjoying the sounds and sights of nature,” said Senator King. “The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will provide essential resources to support America’s treasured habitats and expand conservation efforts for species, waters and lands in dire need of support. I hope we can swiftly pass this essential bipartisan legislation so our wildlife continues to prosper for generations to come.”

“The federal government plays a critical role in protecting threatened and endangered species.” said Senators Collins. “This bipartisan legislation provides dedicated funding which will help recover threatened species in Maine, invest in proactive, on-the-ground conservation, and preserve our wildlife for future generations.”

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a key tool for States, territories, and Tribes to shape wildlife conservation strategies and plans developed by states, territories, and Tribes. These science-based strategies would restore populations of species with the greatest conservation need. State, territorial, and Tribal wildlife agencies have identified more than 12,000 species in need of conservation assistance. Existing federal funding support is insufficient and fails to provide the resources required to meet all of these needs.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA): 

  • Funds conservation efforts for more than 12,000 species of wildlife and plants in need of assistance by providing $1.4 billion in dedicated annual funding for proactive, on-the-ground efforts across the country.
  • Provides Tribal nations $97.5 million annually to fund proactive wildlife conservation efforts on roughly 140 million acres of land.
  • Ensures wildlife recovery efforts will be guided by the Congressionally-mandated State Wildlife Action Plans, which identify specific strategies to restore the populations of species of greatest conservation need.
  • Accelerates the recovery of approximately 1,600 U.S. species already listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
  • Includes improvements to ensure funds are appropriately targeted to the areas of greatest need and facilitate additional investments in protecting at-risk plant species.

U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) are leading the legislation. RAWA is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), and Ted Budd (R-N.C.).

RAWA is supported by over 60 Tribes and 1,500 organizations representing state fish and wildlife agencies, sportsmen and women, conservation groups, and industry associations and businesses. 

Senators Collins and King have been long-time advocates for preserving public lands and wildlife. They recently announced more than $500,000 to preserve and protect Maine’s vulnerable species and habitats.

Senators King and Collins also helped lead the passage the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) into law; the legislation includes the Restore Our Parks Act – a bill led by King and cosponsored by Senator Collins – and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Permanent Funding Act. Because of his work, in 2020, Senator King was awarded the inaugural National Park Foundation (NPF) “Hero” Award. The historic legislative package continues Senator King’s career-long focus on conservation efforts, dating back to his work prior to running for elected office through his years as Governor and his service in the Senate.

The full bill text can be found here.

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