This year two landmark conservation bills were passed—the Great American Outdoors Act and America’s Conservation Enhancement Act.
The Great American Outdoors Act marks the biggest win for the great outdoors and public lands in decades and became law in August. It provides five years of funding, up to a total of $9.5 billion, to address a sizable portion of the national parks’ maintenance backlog. This includes deferred habitat restoration, trail and other amenity maintenance, and historic site preservation.
The Act also provides full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. At $900 million every year, this will expand recreation opportunities, conserve wildlife, and create jobs.
“Tennesseans fought hard for this win,” said Michael Butler, chief executive officer of Tennessee Wildlife Federation.
“Senator Alexander led this bill and with his retirement, Tennesseans will have to speak out even more if we want to see victories like this again in the future.”
Not only did Tennesseans get the Great American Outdoors Act across the finish line, they helped secure another win for our fish, wildlife, and wild places when congress passed America’s Conservation Enhancement Act.
Also known as the ACE Act, the bipartisan bill contains many longstanding conservation priorities for Tennessee and the nation.
It includes funding to fight invasive species, manage chronic wasting disease, and support the work of the National Fish Habitat Partnerships.
In addition, the ACE Act will reauthorize the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Establishment Act and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which increase bird populations and wetland habitat, while also supporting local economies and outdoor recreation.
“The Federation is incredibly grateful to our engaged supporters who helped secure these wins for our wildlife, waters, and wild places. The passage of these historical conservation bills just goes to show how we can make a meaningful impact when we all speak up for the great outdoors,” said Michael.
Featured photo by Quinn Strother