Resolution on Reauthorization and Funding of the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act of 1980

WHEREAS, the Congress of the United States enacted the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act in 1980, which authorized the federal government to provide financial and technical assistance to states to develop and implement nongame wildlife management programs; and

WHEREAS, by directing emphasis to nongame species and their habitats, and by strengthening research and management of them, the Act represents a crucial opportunity for advancing the conservation of America's nongame species, most of which have had little or no funding in the past; and

WHEREAS, nongame species outnumber game species at least 10 to 1, but game species have enjoyed the bulk of the funding, protection and management for obvious reasons; and

WHEREAS, this Act was designed as a companion to the Pittman-Robertson and Dingall-Johnson Acts that have very successfully funded game and fish management and research for many years, but this Act has received no continuous funding, only limited reimbursement funds (1988-1990); and

WHEREAS, even though nearly every state has some sort of nongame program in place, not nearly enough is being done, as habitat destruction and environmental pollution have dramatically lowered the population sizes of many of these species, even in the years since this Act was enacted; and

WHEREAS, we should not lose sight of the fact that protecting our fish and wildlife species, and thus our biological diversity, and preserving them for generations to come is in the best interest of our country as a whole, and not just of the so-called "conservationists" or people who enjoy the outdoors; and

WHEREAS, almost a whole decade of management and protection of our nongame wildlife has been lost because this Act was not funded, and some of these species such as the endangered, threatened, rare, and rapidly declining ones cannot wait much longer for our help; and

WHEREAS, the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act of 1980 expired on 30 September 1988, and its limited funding from Title VIII, Section 801 of H.R. 4030 (1988) runs out on 30 September 1990;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the American Society of Mammalogists meeting at Frostburg State University, Frostburg, Maryland, 9-15 June 1990, strongly urges the Congress of the United States and the President to reauthorize the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act of 1980, to make sure the states have been able to properly develop and implement nongame conservation plans under Section 6 of the Act, and to fund the Act past fiscal year 1990 on a continuing, more permanent basis, either by appropriating funds or by utilizing one or more of the funding options outlined in the 1985 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study.