The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies Applauds the Senate and House Bipartisan Dear Colleague Letters Requesting Funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program

May 18, 2020

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies commends the support and leadership of Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Congressman Don Young (R-AK), who were joined by 220 of their colleagues on letters to the leadership of the U.S Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittees on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Interior Appropriations.  The Senate and House letters, respectively, are in support of the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program which provides a critical investment to sustain our nation’s most vulnerable fish and wildlife.  In the letters, Members urge the Subcommittees to provide the most robust funding possible for the Program.

The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program is the nation’s core program to prevent fish and wildlife from becoming endangered.  This program is the only federal grant program available to states, territories, District of Columbia and tribes to conserve more than 12,000 species identified by states as species in greatest conservation need.

“The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program is the nation’s core program to prevent fish and wildlife from becoming endangered,” said Senator Crapo. “The program has funded state and tribal conservation on-the-ground work such as invasive species control, habitat management, species reintroduction, disease abatement and research and monitoring that helps sustain fish and wildlife populations.  Locally-based efforts ensure taxpayer dollars use the best available science with input from farmers, ranchers and business-owners to protect fish and wildlife for future generations.”

“The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program is at the heart of our nation’s conservation efforts," said Senator Whitehouse.  “As other key environmental programs come under partisan attack, the State and Wildlife Grants Program’s continues to have broad bipartisan support for its mission of protecting vulnerable fish and wildlife species.  I’m proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”

States, tribes and their partners have used funding from this program that is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to combat invasive species, protect natural areas, restore habitat, conduct research, implement monitoring programs and facilitate partnerships with landowners to protect declining species and habitats on public and private lands.

This year Congress appropriated $67.5 for the program, a $3 million increase over last year and the highest level since 2010.

“The State and Tribal Wildlife Grant program is an essential part of protecting our nation’s valuable natural resources and conserving them for the next generation, said Congressman Thompson. “I am proud to support this program each year and advocate to ensure funding is included in our appropriations bills and this year is no different. We must work to ensure our fish and wildlife don’t become endangered and our open spaces remain beautiful for years to come.”

“As a conservationist, I am a proud supporter of the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program,” said Congressman Young. “This critical resource has long enjoyed bipartisan support and has seen great success in protecting vulnerable species and ecosystems. I am proud to join my colleagues in support of not only this program, but of our environment at large.”

“We need these important investments for the future of conservation,” said Secretary Kelly Hepler of South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “State and Tribal Wildlife Grants leverage the expertise and professional management capacity of state fish and wildlife agencies with conservation partners to deliver successful conservation projects that directly benefit species in greatest need of support.”

The U.S. Congress created the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program in 2000 to address the longstanding need to conserve declining fish and wildlife. Since the inception of the program, over $1 billion has been appropriated to state, territorial and District of Columbia fish and wildlife agencies. The program led to the development of State Wildlife Action Plans, the blueprints for conserving our nation's fish and wildlife and preventing endangered species, and is the principal source of funding for their implementation.


The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest. The Association represents its state agency members on Capitol Hill and before the Administration to advance favorable fish and wildlife conservation policy and funding and works to ensure that all entities work collaboratively on the most important issues. The Association also provides member agencies with coordination services on cross-cutting as well as species-based programs that range from birds, fish habitat and energy development to climate change, wildlife action plans, conservation education, leadership training and international relations. Working together, the Association’s member agencies are ensuring that North American fish and wildlife management has a clear and collective voice.