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Thursday, September 16, 2021

New Bill Would Galvanize Wildlife Conservation Help Prevent Extinctions in Illinois

CHAMPAIGN – New bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate will fund locally-led efforts to help prevent extinctions and help wildlife thrive nationwide. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will send approximately $26 million to Illinois each year, which the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will use to help the 419 species of concern in Illinois, such as the Blanding’s Turtle, the Lake Sturgeon, and the Monarch Butterfly.

“We are facing a looming wildlife crisis in Illinois. This commonsense, bipartisan bill will allow us to help at-risk wildlife early with collaborative, voluntary measures before they become endangered,” said Elliot Brinkman, Executive Director of Prairie Rivers Network. “This will create jobs while restoring habitat for some of Illinois’ most threatened species.”  

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act was just introduced in the Senate by Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) introduced a similar version of the  Recovering America’s Wildlife Act in the House in April. 

“The historic, bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is by far the most important piece of wildlife legislation in the past half century,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “At a time when more than one-third of wildlife species are at heightened risk of extinction, this critical legislation will help recover thousands of at-risk species through proactive, collaborative efforts in every state, territory, and Tribal nation, creating jobs while preventing extinctions. We applaud the incredible bipartisan leadership of Senator Heinrich and Senator Blunt, and their House partners Rep. Dingell and Rep. Fortenberry, who are all demonstrating once again that wildlife conservation can unite all Americans.”

Nationwide, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act dedicates $1.4 billion annually to locally-led wildlife restoration efforts, with most of the money going to wildlife agencies like IDNR who will use the money to implement existing plans for at-risk wildlife. At least 15 percent of the funds will be used to help species that are already considered endangered or threatened.  

More than 1,500 businesses and organizations have signed on in support of the legislation, including 30 from Illinois.

At Prairie Rivers Network (PRN), we protect water, heal land, and inspire change. Using the creative power of science, law, and collective action, we protect and restore our rivers, return healthy soils and diverse wildlife to our lands, and transform how we care for the earth and for each other. PRN is the Illinois affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation.

The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly-changing world.

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