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Funding from the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act could help proactive efforts to protect the Maine moose population, the official state animal.

 By Lily Bohlke 

April 23, 2021

AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine conservation groups say the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, just introduced in Congress, would not only help the state help conserve its wildlife populations, but create jobs and improve the outdoor experience for Mainers and tourists.

The bill would allocate almost $1.4 billion for states, territories and tribes to implement their own wildlife action plans. It includes roughly $11.5 million for Maine.

Commissioner Judy Camuso of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said they’ve identified 378 at-risk species in the state.

“One of the primary goals of this is to keep common species common,” said Camuso. “Keep our biodiversity intact, and our systems healthy, and so that we don’t have to list species moving forward.”

Funding would support efforts to protect species and their habitats, from the moose – the official state animal, with its cultural significance to Maine tribes – to the New England Cottontail, the Yellow-banded Bumblebee and other species.

Colin O’Mara with the National Wildlife Federation said the wildlife crisis is escalating – and a bipartisan push to collaboratively curb it is necessary.

“As we’re developing more roads, as we’re converting habitat into housing or other types of development,” said O’Mara, “we’re losing more than a football field’s worth of habitat every 30 seconds.”

Camuso also pointed out that with the pandemic, Mainers have been spending more time outdoors than ever before, and biodiversity improves the outdoor recreation experience as well.

“When we have healthy fish and wildlife and healthy environments, it’s healthy for people as well, right?” said Camuso. “So whether you like to go birding or hiking, or fishing or hunting or biking, you know, this bill would benefit everybody.”

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s vision for using the money ranges from surveilling and restoring populations to developing landowner assistance programs and educating the public about conservation.Disclosure: National Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness, Salmon Recovery, Water.

References:  The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act has just been introduced in Congress