Phoca thumb l flounder fishing   courtesy tpwd ew1fva

Image: TPWD

Nationwide, there are about 15,000 species that are of greatest conservation need or endangered, some 1,310 of them in Texas.  But a new bipartisan bill called the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (HR 4647) , introduced into Congress on December 14, would provide $1.3 billion annually to states to improve and restore fish and wildlife habitats. The money would come from existing royalties made off of energy and mineral production on federal lands and waters. States would also need to come up with 25 percent in matching funds via private investors, grants, and the sort.  Texas’ share of the funding is estimated at more than $60 million per year.

The greater Houston area is "home to an astonishing array of species from bald eagles to bottlenose dolphins," according to Jaime González of the Katy Prairie Conservancy. "This legislation can help ensure that our children and their children have a chance to see these magnificent creatures here at home."

State wildlife agencies would be in charge of distributing the money to projects for habitat restoration, scientific research, and much more. The legislation aims give states more power over conservation efforts and to help protect species, so they don't have to ever go on the endangered list. 

Read more about the bill at txwildlifealliance.org and about at-risk Texas species at tpwd.org.

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