WASHINGTON, D.C. (KETK) — Texas conservation groups are praising the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, a federal proposal, as a potential source of funding to preserve at-risk wildlife populations and improve outdoor recreation.
The funding would come from existing revenues with no new taxes.
If passed, the federal legislation would send more than $1 billion to nonprofit organizations, nature centers, universities, landowners, and others for preservation projects.
Supporters say passage of the act would create thousands of new jobs in wildlife management and help fund tree plantings, river restoration efforts and outdoor recreation projects which in turn attract nature tourists.
Around 4.4 million wildlife watchers in Texas generate $1.82 billion in retail sales and support 146,000 jobs, records show.
The Outdoor Industry Association estimates the outdoor recreation economy in Texas contributes to 327,000 jobs, generates $14.4 billion in salaries and wages per year and $3.5 billion in state and local tax revenue.
“The litany of ways natural resources bolster the Texas economy and improve our quality of life is seemingly endless,” said Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director. “Studies show property values can increase up to 20% when adjacent to natural areas. Natural buffers make coasts and communities more resilient to intense storms and flood events, thereby protecting our citizens and saving billions of dollars in recovery costs.”
In Texas, the funding would be used for coastal artificial reefs, oyster bed restoration, habitat enhancement for clean air and water, urban ecology centers, paddling trails and kiosks sharing information about wildlife.
The Texas Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife, a statewide coalition of more than 165 diverse organizations and businesses, is among organizations that is supporting passage of the act.