Bill to set aside $17.9 million for Kansas conservation efforts backed by Senator

FILE - Swift Fox
FILE - Swift Fox(Red River Zoo)
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 2:17 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A bill that would set aside $17.9 million yearly for conservation efforts in Kansas has been backed by U.S. Senator Jerry Moran.

The Kansas Wildlife Federation announced on Wednesday, May 10, that U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) has signed onto a new bipartisan wildlife conservation bill that would direct $1.4 billion to locally-led efforts to help at-risk species each year.

“Too many Kansas wildlife species are experiencing steep declines. This bill will allow us to restore habitat and address the problem at the scale necessary, in collaboration with volunteering landowners,” said Brad Loveless, Secretary of Kansas Wildlife and Parks. “We thank Senator Moran for cosponsoring collaborative conservation efforts that will benefit our wildlife and our way of life.”

KWF noted that the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would send $17.9 million to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks which will be used to implement the State Wildlife Action Plan which identifies 285 priority species - including the Lesser Prairie-Chicken, Neosho Madtom, Swift Fox and Southern Plains Bumble Bee.

“Saving the thousands of at-risk wildlife species will require bold, bipartisan leadership,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We are so grateful to Senator Moran for leading the way on the historic Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. This bill will have an immediate impact – saving species, creating jobs and protecting our way of life in Kansas and all across the country.”

The organization said federally recognized tribal nations, including the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and Kansas Kickapoo Tribe, would share $97.5 million to fund wildlife conservation efforts each year on tribal lands.

“The Kansas Wildlife Federation is excited for Senator Moran to engage in this bipartisan process. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do something great for wildlife and we thank our legislator for being part of the important work on behalf of all Kansans,” said Jeff Seim, board president of the Kansas Wildlife Federation.

Officials indicated a similar bill was passed in the House on a bipartisan vote in the 2022 session with support from Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS). Moran also cosponsored a senate version last session which passed out of committee but never received a floor vote despite 47 bipartisan cosponsors on the bill.