October 30, 2020
Today, the Association, along with the nation’s hunters, anglers, conservationists, and outdoor enthusiasts of every kind, celebrated the President’s signing of the most important fish and wildlife legislation enacted this congressional session, S. 3051, the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act (ACE Act). The bill ensures continuation of two of the most successful conservation programs in the nation’s history, with reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and codification of the National Fish Habitat Partnership. It provides measures to combat the most pressing disease currently threatening deer species, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), through formation of a state and federal Task Force and the direction of research on CWD transmission and pathways. Among other vital provisions, the Chesapeake Bay program is reauthorized, and states are ensured the necessary authority to continue regulating types of fishing tackle based on localized effects for the next five years.
The Association commends Congress for recognizing the impelling need for this bill, which passed both the House and Senate by unanimous consent. The Association extends its deepest gratitude to the members who sponsored this legislation and championed conservation during such a crucial time for the nation’s national resources: Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE), Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) as well as Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Rep. Robert Wittman (R-VA), Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), and the entire Chesapeake Bay delegation.
“Americans are continuing to utilize public lands and waters in record numbers, many of them for the first time,” said Sara Parker Pauley, Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “The ACE Act will be indispensable to our natural resources, enabling stewards to ensure our citizens experience the outdoors the way they deserve, with healthy habitats and flourishing species. We thank Congress for recognizing the success and necessity of existing programs while taking steps to address urgent needs such as CWD through this bill.”
“While there is still more work to be done, this has been a landmark Congress,” said Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “That the ACE Act stands out as perhaps the most important fish and wildlife bill enacted in the same year as the much needed Great American Outdoors Act speaks to how monumental these provisions are for conservation.”
Once again, the Association would like to thank the sponsors and champions of the Ace Act and looks forward to continuing to work with Congress and the conservation community to secure resources for State Wildlife Action Plans through the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.