US House of Representative Subcommitee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife hearing on RAWA and WCCA - Oct 17, 2019

The U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife held a hearing the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2019 (RAWA) and the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act of 2019. Gloria Tom, director for Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife was invited by the committee, along with several other advocates and opponents of the bills.

Co-sponsored by a growing bipartisan list of Members of Congress, RAWA would provide a dedicated $1.3 billion for states, territories, and the District of Columbia, and $97.5 million to tribes, to implement wildlife conservation plans.

“…Tribes have some of the most accomplished natural resource programs in the nation and tribes protect hundreds upon hundreds of wildlife species and their habitat.  Proper preservation and enhancement of species are critical to tribal culture, sustenance, and exercise of treaty rights.  Treaty-reserved rights to fish, hunt, and gather are of central spiritual, cultural, subsistence, and economic importance to Tribal nations. In fact, they are central to our identity. We cannot practice our religion and culture, we cannot properly teach our children and support their intellectual growth, we cannot fish, hunt and gather forever if there is no longer abundant and healthy fish, wildlife, and plants, no longer clean air, and no longer healthy habitats for our sacred lands,” said Director Gloria Tom.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the kind of bold and bipartisan action we need to address the crisis facing threatened fish, wildlife, and habitats throughout the country.  This bill provides dedicated funding to help tribal wildlife agencies proactively conserve vulnerable species. Congress has the opportunity to not only help wildlife, but also the economy and our communities.

The Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act of 2019 would create a National System of Wildlife Corridors on federal and with our cooperation tribal lands and waters which would benefit fish, fish habitat, watersheds and other wildlife habitat.