Recovering America’s Wildlife Act | Daniel Schwab Wyoming
Biologist Michelle Herman is currently working with hellbenders, a rare, giant salamander. By swabbing the animal, she is looking for invasive fungus that can be found in a tributary of the Susquehanna River in New York.
Hellbender numbers have declined greatly and Herman is part of a small group of biologists, state wildlife technicians, and volunteers who support the hellbender in this area.
According to Herman, amphibians are facing extinction due to habitat destruction from climate change. Hellbenders live under large rocks in clean, fast-moving streams where they feed on crayfish. Conservation resources are scarce for less known species as federal funding typically goes towards big game species. Herman is advocating for hellbenders, eager to conserve them.
According to Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife, existing federal conservation funding only covers about 5% of what is needed to help more than 12,000 “species of greatest conservation need,” which includes the hellbender.
Since the 1930s, the United States raised money for conservation with taxes on hunting, licenses, guns, ammunition, and other equipment. In 1950, the Dingell-Johnson Act allowed the model to expand by including fishing licenses and equipment.
Director at National Wildlife Federation, Mike Leahy, says this money often goes towards popular species like deer and elk, creating a gap in funding for species that aren’t hunted or fished.
Wildlife advocates are hopeful this imbalance could change with a bill called Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which would provide more funding. The bill passed the House of Representatives earlier this summer.
Money from this Act would go to states and tribal governments to decide how to spend. It will be required that 15% of the amount would support federally listed endangered species. As of now, it is not clear if it will be voted on this year, as a funding source to offset the cost of increased conservation spending has yet to be established.
About Daniel Schwab
Daniel Schwab is a community leader and successful businessman who lives in Afton, Wyoming. Having spent a good portion of his childhood in Wyoming’s Star Valley, he’s got a bit of a soft spot for the land. He spent his childhood exploring and fly-fishing in the spring creeks, giving him an intimate appreciation of the environment. He has since always incorporated his love for the outdoors into his decisions as a businessman.
Currently, Daniel Schwab is the founder and director of TerraWest Conservancy, a business that aims to help landowners protect the habitats of endangered or threatened species. He also owns a successful fly-fishing club called Feathered Hook of Jackson Hole. In 2019, Daniel opened a property called Renegade Wyoming, which is part of the conservation of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. This property has been established to protect the natural resources of the region. To learn more about Daniel Schwab, be sure to visit his websites!