The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Legislation (H.R. 2773 S.2372) is based on the belief that future generations should enjoy Ohio’s wild animals and wild places. Unfortunately, threats to our fish, wildlife, and their habitats exceed the resources available to conserve them. Ohio has 94 species considered at risk of extinction globally or nationally. Nationally, approximately 10,000 at-risk species are identified. Once a species declines to the point of being listed, it is very difficult, expensive and contentious to recover. Existing federal funding was never designed to meet the needs of all species, particularly those declining but not yet threatened. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, if passed, would allow us to protect those species, conserve the full diversity of wildlife, and improve our natural resources.
How would Ohio benefit?
Under earlier versions of the bill, Ohio’s portion of the funding would amount to $20 million annually, with a required non-federal match of 25% ($6.6 million annually). Funds could be used for fish and wildlife conservation, wildlife conservation education programs, and wildlife associated recreation projects. Working with landowners, partner agencies and non-government organizations would be critical to identify high priority, cooperative projects and to explore sources of non-federal match. Passage of the Recovering America's Wildlife Act would not impact Ohio’s current allocation of Pittman-Robertson or Dingell Johnson funds.
Ohio's Species of Greatest Conservation Need
Currently our state receives approximately $1.4M a year for these efforts. This funding is insufficient to successfully conserve and managed the more than 400 identified species of conservation need in Ohio’s State Wildlife Action Plan. Just imagine what work can be done if these conservation efforts were fully funded. Learn more about Ohio’s State Wildlife Action Plan.
How You Can Help
Keep up-to-date on supporting Recovering America’s Wildlife Act by going to the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife website.
Success in Ohio
Through a partnership with the Toledo Zoo, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Penta Career Center, the Wilds, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Jefferson, Belmont, and Columbiana County Soil and Water Conservation districts, and the Ohio Division of Wildlife, nearly 1,000 captive-reared eastern hellbenders were released into eight Ohio watersheds over the past six years. Together with efforts to restore stream habitats, the hellbender head-start program is working to reverse the precipitous decline of this rare amphibian by establishing multiple self-sustaining populations in Ohio. Researchers with The Ohio State University and Ohio University are continuing to monitor this species of salamander.
Often used as the poster child of declining Neotropical migratory birds, cerulean warblers have declined by about 70 percent over the last several decades. Large southeastern Ohio woodlands support some of the best remaining breeding populations in the state. Wherever mature deciduous woodlands (particularly oak-hickory forests) occur in Ohio, cerulean warblers should be members of the nesting fauna. These warblers prefer interior forest with canopy gaps and normally avoid isolated woodlots in open landscapes. The Ohio Division of Wildlife is engaged in numerous, ongoing management projects for forest habitat, which benefit a variety of warbler species, including the cerulean warbler. In addition, the Ohio Division of Wildlife supports the Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative, the Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture, and the Upper Mississippi River/Great Lakes Region Joint Venture to promote migratory bird conservation planning and management actions across the state and region.
The monarch butterfly is one of North America’s most iconic insects and Ohio has a significant role to play in its recovery. The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative is a partnership created to restore habitat for the monarch and other declining pollinators. Key partners include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Ohio Division of Wildlife, Ohio Department of Transportation, and Pheasants Forever. The mission is to create and improve pollinator habitat across the State of Ohio and increase and improve pollinator conservation for all Ohioans. The motto is “All you can, where you can.” The partnership organizes an annual milkweed pod collection to provide Ohio citizens with an ample supply of native milkweed to restore habitat for the monarch butterfly and other pollinators.
The lake sturgeon is currently one of the most threatened species in the Great Lakes and is listed as endangered by the Ohio Division of Wildlife. A species of fish that can grow up to 6 feet long and weigh up to 200 pounds, the lake sturgeon dates to the time of the dinosaurs. The release of 3,000 young lake sturgeon in 2018 was the first step to restoring a healthy spawning population. Agencies involved in the species restoration include the Ohio Division of Wildlife, the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium, University of Toledo, Lake Erie Waterkeeper, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Geological Survey, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Purdy Fisheries Ltd., University of Windsor, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
As a group, freshwater mussels are among the most imperiled animals in the United States. The Ohio Division of Wildlife continues to fund research at The Ohio State University and the Freshwater Mussel Conservation Facility located at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Research focuses on all facets of freshwater mussel ecology, biology, and conservation, including efforts to assess mussel health and further mussel propagation efforts. One of the main conservation efforts is the augmentation of federally endangered northern riffleshell and clubshell mussels in Ohio. To date, more than 15,000 of these federally endangered mussels were transferred from the upper Allegheny River in Pennsylvania into Big Darby Creek in Ohio. This is the largest release of an endangered species in Ohio to date. The goal is to release enough animals to allow them to reproduce and establish self-sustaining populations. Cooperators on this project include the Ohio Division of Wildlife, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, The Wilds, The Ohio State University, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Franklin County Metro Parks.