WILD Act Passes Senate by Unanimous Consent

The U.S. Senate passed legislation by unanimous consent on June 8 to reauthorize the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program and create new national conservation awards.

The Wildlife Innovation and Longevity Act (WILD Act, S. 826) was introduced in April and is championed by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barasso (R-WY) and committee Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE).

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USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife program has been instrumental in creating many acres of habitat for New England cottontails on private land./K. Boland

The bill reauthorizes and funds the Partners program at $100 million per year through 2022, as well as reauthorizing the Multinational Species Conservation programs for elephants, great apes, rhinoceros, and tiger. The bill also amends the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act to require the development and implementation of strategic plans to combat invasive species. Finally, the bill creates the Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prizes that will award monetary awards up to $100,000 for technological innovators in prevention of wildlife poaching and trafficking, the promotion of wildlife conservation, the management of invasive species, the protection of endangered species, and the use of non-lethal methods for controlling wildlife.

“The Senate has passed important bipartisan conservation legislation,” said Barrasso. “The WILD Act rewards innovative ideas to safeguard threatened species and keep invasive species under control. The legislation will also reauthorize vital conservation programs. The WILD Act will enhance conservation efforts in America and around the world."

The USFWS Partners program supports and funds many important habitat projects throughout the eastern United States, including creating young forest for American woodcock, New England cottontail, and more than 60 other kinds of wildlife that need this habitat.

(This article first appeared in the June issue of the Wildlife News Bulletin, an online publication of the Wildlife Management Institute.)