The mid-1950’s was a time when the U.S. government began to seriously consider how to protect and conserve our natural resources. The Fish and Wildlife Act (FWA) was passed in 1956, with four purposes: 1) to maximize sustainable fish production; 2) to insure the stability of domestic fisheries; 3) to stimulate the consumption of fisheries products, and 4) to develop, advance, conserve, and protect wildlife resources. The FWA was one of the first pieces of environmental legislation enacted in the U.S., and its fourth goal paved the way for other environmental laws that increased protections for our nation’s irreplaceable fish and wildlife resources.
When Congress passed this legislation by voice vote, it declared that ”fish and wildlife resources materially contribute to our national economy and food supply, as well as contribute to the heath, recreation, and well being of our citizens.” Two important agencies protecting and conserving wildlife have been tasked to implement this law: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Amendments to the original act over the years have strengthened it and expanded its reach. For example, the USFWS has programs that monitor populations of both game (animals targeted for hunting) and non-game (like endangered species) wildlife populations. The amendments also created funding to promote volunteer programs and community partnerships in support of the National Refuge System. Educating children about the National Refuge System was also funded, preparing our kids to be future stewards of our country’s fish and wildlife.
The FWA is yet another federal law waived to expedite the building of a border wall (click here for a list of all 48 federal laws that have been waived). What will this mean for the wildlife inhabitants of the Sonoran Desert? In the vicinity of the border wall, native fish and wildlife populations will no longer be monitored or protected. The purpose of the FWA, to increase protections for our nation’s fish and wildlife resources, is now null and void in our borderlands.
Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members) and let them know that you oppose waiving The Fish and Wildlife Act to expedite construction of a border wall. Click here if you would like to make a donation to help us fight the border wall.