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H.R. 7408, the America's Wildlife Habitat Conservation Act

The goal of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has always been to recover listed species to the point they no longer need protection. This legislation proposes a series of policy reforms that are laser-focused on recovery. These include requiring the federal government to establish objective, incremental recovery goals for listed species. Once those goals are established, the legislation builds incentives by providing incremental relief from ESA regulations as recovery goals are met. Over time, this creates an off-ramp toward state management of at-risk and listed species after recovery goals are met and in preparation for the delisting of the species.

The America’s Wildlife Habitat Conservation Act (AWHCA) will invest $320 million annually in grant funding to states for wildlife habitat conservation, providing additional resources for state governments to enact their congressionally mandated state wildlife action plans. Specifically, the bill would fund habitat restoration and forest management projects, and promote collaboration with private partners to conserve habitat for at-risk and listed species. The AWHCA will also provide $20 million to fund habitat restoration projects and forest management on tribal lands. All spending in the bill is offset and will sunset after five fiscal years.

The AWHCA would also empower states by giving them the opportunity to develop recovery strategies for species that are listed as threatened or are candidates to be listed. These recovery strategies give states an active role in developing regulations for threatened and candidate species and could become the regulation that governs the management of these species.

Other provisions will give congressional backing to private, voluntary conservation efforts and provide a solution to the detrimental Cottonwood vs. U.S. Forest Service 9th Circuit Court decision. The bill authorizes Good Neighbor Authority for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, allowing the agency to partner with states, tribes and counties to better manage their lands, placing it on par with other federal land management agencies.


    H.R. 7408, The America's Wildlife Habitat Conservation Act, Introduced by Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)

    Press Releases

      Landmark Wildlife Habitat Bill Implements Long-Term Conservation Solutions

      Committee Holds Hearing on Landmark Habitat Bill, Continues Work to Support America's Wildlife


      What They Are Saying: The America's Wildlife Habitat Conservation Act

      ICYMI: 20/20 Vision for Wildlife Habitat Conservation, Op-Ed by Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)


      Hearings and Markups

        Legislative Hearing on H.R. 7408