By Bethany Erb & Jim Inglis || Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever, Government Affairs Team
This week saw a flurry of activity in Washington D.C. Before Congress breaks for the Thanksgiving Holiday, they moved several of Pheasants Forever / Quail Forever’s priority bills.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was permanently reauthorized in March of 2019. Following the reauthorization, the next goal for our team and conservation partners was to achieve full and permanent funding ($900 million per year).
If passed, S. 1081 will do just that! S. 1081 will keep LWCF out of the appropriations cycle and make LWCF project selection and identification much more secure. LWCF is used for hunter and angler access all across the nation -- easements, fee purchases, even Civil War Battlefield restorations. To see what LWCF does for your state, click here
Recognizing the importance of LWCF to you, our Government Affairs Team has been busy on Capitol Hill. Earlier this month we worked with the Senate to oppose a last-minute amendment to an Interior Appropriations bill that would have made it easier to divert LWCF funding. And this week we worked with many of those same Senators and their staff to include S. 1081 in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources mark-up. The good news is that it passed out of Committee! We have more work ahead and a short timeframe to advance a similar bill in the House and move both bills to the Floor before Christmas break.
The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), another PF/QF top priority, also passed in the House this week. We asked for your help to make calls and email your representatives. Many of you did. Thank you! Your efforts made a real difference.
North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act (H.R 925) passed the House Wednesday. HR 925 would reauthorize NAWCA up to $60 million annually through 2024. PF’s NAWCA projects typically result in new and expanded federal and state wildlife management areas that are open to public hunting. Created in 1989, the NAWCA has granted more than $1.73 billion and leveraged $3.57 billion in matching funds to complete nearly 3,000 projects on 30 million acres of habitat across all 50 states.
Like LWCF, NAWCA still has a ways to go,so please ask your Senators to move NAWCA in the Senate soon!
Congress reconvenes December 3, with only 2 weeks remaining in the Congressional calendar year. As always, we will keep you posted on policy action in D.C. that affects upland wildlife and hunting where you live and recreate.