House Passes Package of Conservation, Access Bills

News for Immediate Release
Oct. 1, 2020
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262, [email protected]

America’s Conservation Enhancement Act, or ACE Act, would expand public access, restore habitat and improve opportunities for hunters and anglers; Senate passed in September

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote today legislation, America’s Conservation Enhancement Act (ACE Act, S. 3051), which encompasses a range of programs beneficial to fish and wildlife, hunting and fishing, and public access in the United States. The legislative package passed the Senate, also by voice vote, in September.

The product of a broad collaborative effort by a range of hunting and fishing and outdoors groups, including Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the ACE Act achieves a long-term goal by sportsmen and women and others to advance a bundle of conservation and access measures.

BHA Conservation Director John Gale highlighted the bipartisan leadership in Congress that resulted in the bill’s passage.

“The ACE Act is perfect example of how fish and wildlife conservation unites the interests of the American people,” said Gale. “For hunters and anglers, this package of legislation is a long time coming, and we applaud the bipartisan leadership in both chambers that made it happen.”

Gale continued: “From reauthorizing critical programs like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to advancing strategic partnerships for fish habitat conservation and addressing the spread of chronic wasting disease, the ACE Act provides important investments that reach from Chesapeake Bay to mule deer country in the West.”

Significant measures in the ACE Act include the following:

  • Reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Actat $60 million until fiscal year 2025. NAWCA creates a competitive grant program that has generated more than 2,833 projects and has contributed to conserving approximately 29.8 million acres of wetland habitat in North America.
  • Reauthorization of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Establishment Act at $25 million across agencies until fiscal year 2025. NFWF is the United States’ largest conservation grant-maker to conserve fish and wildlife habitat on private and public lands and waters.
  • Reauthorization of the Chesapeake Bay Program until fiscal year 2025. This program safeguards the Chesapeake Bay watershed by leveraging state and local dollars to improve and restore water quality and fish and wildlife habitat for Canada geese, speckled trout and other game species.
  • Help to address chronic wasting disease, a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy prion disease found in cervid populations (i.e. deer, elk and moose), by creating a new CWD task force under the jurisdiction of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to collaborate, research and maintain the spread of the disease.
  • New resources to combat invasive species.
  • Advancement of the National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Initiative by encouraging a coalition of outdoor, hunting, angling, industry and other conservation organizations to collaborate and address the loss of fish habitat in critical waterways.

The ACE Act is expected to advance to the president’s desk and be signed into law.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

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