A Country in Crisis Turns to the Outdoors

After COVID hit the United States, people flocked to mountains, rivers, lakes, and trails to escape the four walls of our homes and clear our heads.  These outdoor places provided respite and improved the wellbeing of millions of Americans.

Unfortunately, it’s our economy that needs a breath of fresh air now. Following the economic downturn of the pandemic, Congress should make bold investments to create jobs, rebuild our economy, and improve the health of our communities.

Our natural resources can once again bring our nation together, if Congress seizes the opportunity to invest in them.  As policymakers search for ways to stimulate the economy, they need look no further than our lands and waters. That’s why hunters and anglers are joining a diverse coalition of conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts to ensure that Congress considers fish and wildlife habitat as part of the solution to the many challenges we face.

Restoration Economy Report

The numbers don’t lie. Investing in conservation creates jobs, propels our economy forward, and strengthens habitat for fish and wildlife.

17.4 jobs per $1 million invested.
Download the Report

Legislative Solutions

These six priorities will create meaningful change for fish and wildlife and our economy. Take action now and urge decision-makers to put people back to work through conservation.

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Strengthen America’s coastlines and restore iconic ecosystems.

In the Gulf of Mexico, outdoor recreation and wildlife tourism support more than $19 billion in annual spending and more than half a million jobs. But the Mississippi River Delta loses the equivalent of a football field worth of coastal habitat every 100 minutes, undermining these activities. Congress should use existing tools to fund publicly vetted coastal or watershed restoration projects and create a new program that dedicates dollars to coastal restoration and fisheries management. There is precedent: Investments in conservation were made in recovery legislation aimed at pulling the U.S. out of the Great Recession.

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Prioritize wetlands restoration.

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act has proven to be our nation’s most effective program for protecting, restoring, and enhancing wetlands and waterfowl habitat. Since 1990, the program has provided flood control, protected water quality, improved ecosystem function, and secured recreational access on more than 30 million acres of wetlands. The partnership model established in this legislation generates roughly 7,500 jobs and supports over $200 million in salaries annually. The program was reauthorized in 2020 through the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act, but we strongly encourage Congress to fully fund this program.

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Invest in our nation’s private lands.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers a suite of voluntary conservation programs that help landowners improve soil and water quality, wildlife habitat, and farm and forestry operations. We urge Congress to double its investment and significantly grow enrollment in Farm Bill conservation programs, so we can address natural resource challenges—like habitat loss and climate change—and provide landowners with the technical and financial assistance they need.

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Use habitat to improve the resilience of transportation infrastructure.

With over 4 million miles of public roads in the U.S., the scope of repairs needed to support our aging transportation infrastructure seems daunting. We encourage Congress to pass a highway bill that creates a new competitive grant program to prioritize the use and restoration of natural infrastructure—natural systems, like wetlands and dunes, that can mitigate threats to our roadways, like flooding from powerful storm surge.

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5 predisaster mitigation

Invest in pre-disaster mitigation.

When communities experience major disasters, their resources are drained as they rebuild.  That’s why we need an infusion of cash to not only help them pick up the pieces, but also to prepare for future catastrophic weather events. We encourage Congress to set aside 15 percent of critical FEMA-administered grant funding for nature-based approaches to reducing disaster risk.

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Invest in sustainable water systems.

From water quality issues in the East to water quantity issues in the West, we need thoughtful approaches to watershed management that are based in local needs. These solutions are not one size fits all, but several key initiatives can help communities overcome challenges to water quality and infrastructure. This includes funding estuary protection, wastewater control, and water treatment and improving water delivery, efficiency, and reliability in drought-stressed systems.

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Learn About Other Benefits of These Job-Creating Initiatives

The latest updates from our blog

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Two State Bills That PA Hunters and Anglers Should Support to Advance Conservation

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House Passes Reconciliation Package That Would Benefit Fish, Wildlife, and Habitat Connectivity

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The 10 States Where Outdoor Recreation Generated the Most Money in 2020

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In the last two years, policymakers have committed to significant investments in conservation, infrastructure, and reversing climate change. Hunters and anglers continue to be vocal about the opportunity to create conservation jobs, restore habitat, and boost fish and wildlife populations. Support solutions now.

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