Conservation Northwest is deeply grateful to U.S. House of Representatives members Derek Kilmer, Kim Schrier, Rick Larsen, Denny Heck, Suzan DelBene, Adam Smith and Pramila Jayapal for signing a letter to the House leadership supporting a “Restoration and Resilience Jobs” proposal for a future economic recovery package.
The Restoration and Resilience Jobs proposal will provide more than $100 billion in funding for natural resource and recreational infrastructure projects across America, including construction of wildlife crossings, jobs improving wildlife habitat through the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, work to make out national forests more resilient to wildfire, wildfire response, jobs upgrading the infrastructure of our national parks for better family recreation experiences, and much more.
Conservation Northwest is currently working with the National Wildlife Federation and other partners to determine what level of restoration funding is being considered in the stimulus proposals moving rapidly through the House of Representatives, as well as the status of appropriations for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Stay tuned for more updates!
As communities across the country are struggling with unemployment and economic hardship during the Covid-19 crisis, this is an opportunity to create millions of good-paying jobs that also support nature conservation.
This funding could create as many as three million near-term jobs, especially bolstering industries currently hard hit by unemployment, including agriculture, forestry, ranching, energy and outdoor recreation. By putting into motion restoration projects that have already been vetted and approved by the NEPA process, but just need funding, the effects of this plan would be immediate.
The $100 billion included in this plan would directly support much-needed conservation efforts in Washington state and across the country. Some notable fund allocations in the proposal include:
• $9 billion to enact the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, legislation Conservation Northwest has long fought for that would fund state wildlife action plans to reverse the decline of nongame wildlife species, including Washington’s fishers, Canada lynx and pygmy rabbits.
• $1 billion to construct wildlife crossings that reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and reconnect habitat for wildlife. n $10 billion for restoring, reforesting, and improving resilience of national forests and accelerating collaborative forest landscape restoration.
• $2 billion for implementing federal recovery plans for Endangered and Threatened Species to create short-term habitat restoration jobs and reduce regulatory uncertainty.
• $18.5 billion to enact the Great American Outdoors Act, which will fix recreational infrastructure on federal public lands, and expand access to outdoor recreation through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
• $5 billion for improving wildfire preparedness in vulnerable communities.
In addition to restoring our natural heritage, these jobs will benefit public health by providing cleaner air and water, increasing access to the outdoors, sequestering carbon, recovering wildlife, and making communities more resilient to natural disasters. This would be a win for public health, the economy, and our natural heritage.