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At least 15 dead as severe weather sweeps across central US; on Memorial Day, IA labor leaders honor fallen workers; Medical center installs microgrid to safeguard clinic power supply; 'Second look' laws gain traction, but MS sticks to elderly parole; Will summer heat melt New Mexicans' cravings for ice cream?

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One congressman cites ways Biden could get more support from communities of color. A new Louisiana law reclassifies two abortion medications as controlled substances. And Ohio advocates work to boost youth voter turnout.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Recovering America's Wildlife Act Helps Wildlife, Farmers and Ranchers

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Thursday, April 13, 2023   

CORRECTION: The number of species at risk in Nebraska is nearly 800. A previous version of the story listed only those the state currently considers threatened or endangered. (9:30 a.m. MST, Apr. 19, 2023)


Nebraska's threatened and endangered species - as well as farmers, ranchers and businesses - will benefit if the Recovering America's Wildlife Act becomes law this year.

At the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich - D-NM - and U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis - R-NC - have reintroduced the bill.

The National Wildlife Federation's Director of Wildlife, Hunting & Fishing Policy Mike Leahy is optimistic it now has the support and momentum it needs.

"Every year there are new studies that come out highlighting how dire the situation is for a lot of species," said Leahy. "About a third of the species in this country are at heightened risk of extinction and decline."

Leahy acknowledged that Congress is still working out funding for the bill, a major roadblock last year.

The Act would give states and tribes $1.4 billion a year to spend on their federally-mandated Wildlife Action Plans, with $98 million designated for Tribal Nations' conservation programs.

Leahy said Nebraska would get roughly $16 million a year to help with 770 species identified as "in conservation need."

Leahy said the so-called RAWA calls for a "proactive, collaborative approach," and would fund projects with farmers, ranchers, landowners and businesses.

"Enhancing grasslands to conserve working farms and ranches," said Leahy. "That supports rural communities and businesses and also the wildlife in those communities. There's control of Eastern red cedars, control of junipers, strategic grazing strategies that can benefit livestock and wildlife."

Michael R. Coe, president of the Nebraska Wildlife Federation, says in an agricultural state like Nebraska wildlife organizations must work with the agricultural community.

"Now, it's not that agriculture landowners are anti-wildlife," said Coe, "but sometimes their farming practices don't work well with wildlife unless we do some specific things to protect them."

Coe said both RAWA and the Farm Bill - which is up for renewal this year - contain provisions designed to help farmers develop, or strengthen practices that benefit wildlife.

"Some of them are based on just training you on how to, for instance, manage your hay crop that doesn't interrupt nesting of birds," said Coe. "Some of has to do with setting aside acres, the old CRP concept."

Nearly 12,000 species in the U.S. are currently considered at risk, including nearly 800 in Nebraska.



Disclosure: National Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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