05.20.21

Chair Grijalva, Sen. Blumenthal Introduce Extinction Prevention Act of 2021 to Fund Protection of Highly Imperiled, Less “Charismatic” Species

Washington, D.C. – In honor of Endangered Species Day on May 21, Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today introduced their respective versions of the Extinction Prevention Act of 2021, which provides much-needed funding for some of the most imperiled wildlife species in the United States. Targeted species include threatened and endangered North American butterflies, various Pacific Island plants, freshwater mussels, and Southwest desert fish.

A fact sheet on the bill is available online at https://bit.ly/3f1oc2P.

Habitat protection for these less charismatic species is chronically underfunded despite them being among the species most at risk of extinction.

  • North American butterflies are one of the fastest declining groups of all endangered species. Of the 39 listed species of butterflies, not a single one is known to be improving.
  • There are nearly 400 endangered and threatened plant species in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, representing about 22 percent of all listed species. In Hawaii, more than 200 plant species have fewer than 50 wild individuals remaining.
  • Freshwater mussels are the most imperiled animal group in the country. Seventy percent of U.S. species are at risk of extinction; 38 species have already been lost.
  • Southwest desert fish are all in decline due to droughts and water scarcity. Many have experienced significant population and habitat reductions, and 42 species are listed as endangered or threatened.

The bill addresses the funding shortfalls that have plagued attempts to manage these at-risk species, in some cases for decades. It authorizes $5 million annually for each species group for conservation projects related to:

  • restoration, protection and management of ecosystems;
  • research and monitoring of populations;
  • development and implementation of management plans;
  • enforcement and implementation of applicable conservation laws; and
  • community outreach and education.

Eligible applicants for funding include relevant state, territory, tribal government, or any other entity with the expertise required for the conservation of the particular species group.

“Our planet is losing far too many species, and this bill is our chance to turn the corner before it’s too late,” Rep. Grijalva said today. “Protecting endangered species isn’t a popularity contest. It’s a matter of human survival and preserving quality of life on this planet. Ecosystems are fragile and need to be conserved as completely as possible, which is why I’m so thankful to my colleague Sen. Blumenthal for working with me and taking a lead on this issue.”

“This bill will help protect critically endangered species from extinction,” Sen. Blumenthal said today. “From freshwater fish to butterflies and plants, more than one million species are at the brink of becoming extinct because of climate change and habitat destruction. The resources provided by this legislation are urgently needed to bolster conservation efforts, reverse the rapid decline in biodiversity, and prevent any more loss of critically imperiled species. I thank Congressman Grijalva for his partnership in this important effort.” 

The House version is cosponsored by Reps. Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Gregorio Sablan (D-CNMI), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Ed Case (D-Hawaii), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Darren Soto (D-Fla.). Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) cosponsor the Senate version.

Press Contact

Media Contacts: Adam Sarvana (Grijalva)

(202) 225-6065 or (202) 578-6626 mobile

Karolina Wasiniewska (Blumenthal)

Karolina_Wasiniewska@blumenthal.senate.gov