Statement from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Supporting the
Introduction of the HELP for Wildlife Act

July 3, 2017

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies supports the introduction of the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation (HELP) for Wildlife Act (S. 1514). This bipartisan legislation would reauthorize important conservation programs and provide federal regulatory clarity for sportsmen.

U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), joined with Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Boozman (R-AR), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to introduce the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation (HELP) for Wildlife Act on Friday, June 30, 2017.

“This legislative package will move forward and strengthen a number of conservation programs that are important to our nation’s outdoor heritage and fish and wildlife resources,” said Nick Wiley, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “This bill will reaffirm the tremendous value of conservation partnerships and the key role for state fish and wildlife agencies working closely with federal, tribal and industry partners and non-governmental organizations”

“The Association strongly supports this important  legislation," said Executive Director Ron Regan. “We greatly appreciate that the Chairman and bill sponsors included the Fish Habitat Conservation through Partnerships provisions in the, HELP for Wildlife Act.”

Specifically, the HELP for Wildlife Act will:

  • Reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act until 2023;
  • Reauthorize the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Act until 2023;
  • Reauthorize the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act until 2023;
  • Prohibit judicial review of the final rule de-listing the gray wolf in Wyoming that was reinstated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on March 3, 2017 and republished on May 1, 2017;
  • Mandate the reissuance of the final rule de-listing the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes and prohibits judicial review;
  • Reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Program until 2023;
  • Reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails network and the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Grants Assistance Program until 2023;
  • Finalize partnerships among public agencies and other interested parties for promoting fish conservation;
  • Prevent farmers from being held liable for bird baiting for hunting purposes if they adhere to USDA and state agricultural best practices; and
  • Promote the building and expansion of public target ranges.