WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), introduced America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act. The bipartisan legislation will reauthorize or establish several important government wildlife conservation programs. It includes several key provisions for Wyoming. The legislation has received praise from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, as well as the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.
The ACE Act helps conserve wildlife and wildlife habitat. It addresses the threats of emerging wildlife diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), protects livestock from predators, and combats invasive species. The EPW Committee is scheduled to consider the legislation at a business meeting on Dec. 17, 2019.
“America has been blessed with incredible wildlife,” said Barrasso. “In Wyoming, we have elk, mule deer, bison and so many more amazing species. We must continue to protect them. The ACE Act will help Washington partner with state and tribal leaders to conserve and manage wildlife. The bill establishes a task force to address the growing problem of chronic wasting disease. The legislation will also compensate ranchers and farmers for their losses when livestock are killed by federally protected animals. I will work with other Senators to advance this important legislation."
"This bill provides a comprehensive package of wildlife conservation measures that would benefit Wyoming and other states,” said Brian Nesvik, the director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “It helps address the growing issue of Chronic Wasting Disease. This is a national problem that requires the collective thought, wisdom and experience of members of the government, academics, non-governmental organizations and elected leaders. On behalf of the wildlife and citizens of Wyoming, I really appreciate Senator Barrasso's leadership on wildlife related issues. Many of the provisions in this bill provide infra-structure to facilitate enhanced partnership between state and federal wildlife and land managers."
“The Wyoming Stock Growers Association commends Senator Barrasso for the inclusion of critical provisions in the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act that address the impacts of certain wildlife species on livestock,” said Jim Magagna, the executive vice president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association. “The provision for depredation payments related to the depredation of livestock by listed species targets losses that cannot be eliminated by the use of non-lethal control methods while sharing a burden that to date has been carried solely by the State of Wyoming. We applaud the establishment of a system for the direct permitting of raven ‘take’ by livestock producers facing depredation on calves and lambs. In addition, the focus on CWD is timely as this devastating wildlife disease impacts the state’s ability to manage its wildlife populations on both private and public lands.”
Among other actions, the ACE Act will:
- Commission a study by the National Academy of Sciences regarding the pathways and mechanisms of the transmission of CWD in the United States;
- Establish a CWD task force to develop an interstate action plan for state and federal cooperation relating to the disease;
- Establish a program to provide grants to states and Indian tribes to compensate livestock producers for losses due to predation by federally protected species such as wolves or grizzly bears;
- Authorize the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue depredation permits to livestock producers to allow for the taking of black vultures or common ravens under specified circumstances during calving or lambing season;
- Establish a Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize for technological innovation to reduce –human-predator conflict using non-lethal means;
- Authorize funds to combat the threat of invasive species; and
- Encourage partnerships among public agencies and other interested parties for promoting fish conservation.
To view full text of the legislation, click here.