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Earth Day 2023: How the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Benefits Our Planet and Our Economy

The United States has some of the most diverse wildlife and habitats on Earth. Conserving this biodiversity is imperative to the health of our planet.

The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) would protect America’s biodiversity through proactive conservation, keeping thousands of animals from being listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). By investing in RAWA, the United States can avoid costly species recovery efforts and continue to support habitat restoration efforts, reaping environmental and economic benefits. RAWA would also support the wildlife and outdoor recreation industries that provide economic opportunities in many rural and Tribal areas.

RAWA Helps States and Tribes Protect Wildlife Before Species Are in Crisis

  • RAWA would invest $1.3 billion in state fish and wildlife agencies and another $97.5 million in Tribal wildlife conservation efforts.
  • These funds give states, territories, and Tribal nations the flexibility and resources to proactively protect species before they become threatened or endangered under ESA.
  • Saving these at-risk species of greatest concern is crucial to the health of our ecosystems and helps avoid costly future mitigation and recovery measures.

Protecting Wildlife Helps Create Economic Opportunity

  • RAWA would generate up to 33,600 direct jobs every year in industries ranging from construction to forestry, in addition to bolstering the outdoor recreation sector.
  • The outdoor recreation industry is economically important, and recreation related to wildlife generates $140 billion in economic activity each year.
  • The United States ecological restoration sector directly employs 126,000 workers in fields ranging from environmental science to construction.
  • Continued investment provides economic stability. Every $1 million invested in restoration and conservation work supports 17 to 31 jobs.

Conservation Supports State and Local Economies and Rural Communities

  • Outdoor recreation is vital for supporting state and local economies, as the industry generates $59.2 billion in state and local tax revenue annually.
  • The Economic Research Service (ERS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that tourism and recreation boost local employment, wage levels, and income while reducing poverty and improving education and health outcomes.
  • ERS found that job earnings in rural counties where recreation is a key industry are $2,000 more per worker than workers in rural counties not focused on recreation.

Investing in our wildlife is an investment in the health of our planet and the health of our economies.