From The Tribune Staff Reports
MONTGOMERY — Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville has signed onto a bipartisan wildlife conservation bill, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, to dedicate $1.4 billion annually to state-led efforts to help at-risk wildlife species nationwide.
“Wildlife conservation is an issue that unites all Americans,” Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) Chris Blankenship said. “Our staff works tirelessly to manage game and nongame species in the state. As one of the most biologically diverse states in the nation, Alabama is home to many imperiled species. Currently, there is no dedicated source of funding for the habitat improvement and management of nongame wildlife. We appreciate Senator Tuberville in cosponsoring this commonsense bill that will make an unprecedented difference for so many species in our state.”
The bill will send approximately $25 million annually to the ADCNR, which the agency will use to implement its wildlife action plan. More than 350 species found in Alabama would benefit, including the red hills salamander, shoal bass, red-cockaded woodpecker, Gulf sturgeon, black pine snake, and numerous mussel species.
“Alabama has a tremendous natural heritage, and this bill will ensure that our children and grandchildren will continue to enjoy it,” Director of ADCNR’s Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division Chuck Sykes said. “We thank Senator Tuberville for cosponsoring this fiscally responsible effort to help at-risk wildlife in Alabama and across the nation.”
At least 15 percent of the funds will be used to help species already designated as endangered or threatened. In addition, federally recognized tribal nations would share $97.5 million annually to fund wildlife conservation efforts on tribal lands.
The House version of the legislation currently has 119 supporters, including 26 Republicans.