Habitat loss threatens the wildlife, lands and waters that hunters and anglers rely on, and a new report from the National Wildlife Federation outlines the consequences in states like Texas.
Texas is home to tens of thousands of native animal and plant species, as well as a booming outdoor recreation economy worth an estimated $31 billion a year, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.
Aaron Kindle, the federation’s sports advocacy director, called habitat loss perhaps the biggest threat to wildlife.
“The time has come,” he said. “I can’t take too much habitat loss and still enjoy the things we’ve enjoyed in the past.”
The report says wildlife and plant species in the United States have lost an average of 6.5 million acres of vital habitat over the past two decades. The amounts and consequences vary by species, but the outdoor recreation industry supports nearly 300,000 jobs in the Lone Star State.
As Congressional leaders consider historic investments in natural infrastructure and wildlife habitat, report urges hunters and anglers to take the lead and use their own on-the-ground knowledge to speak out on wildlife issues and habitat loss. Kindle said the report is a call for these groups to engage and advocate.
“Hunters and anglers, those who go out and pursue these species, are the ones in the best position to find the solutions, advocate for the solutions, talk to members of Congress, and make it all happen,” he said. he declares.
The report cites the America the Beautiful initiative and the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act as strategies to conserve, connect and restore 30% of public lands and water by 2030. Kindle said it was important to give species of game and fish the opportunity to stabilize and recover.
“When you have a healthy river with vegetation on both sides, that provides habitat, but it also slows flooding,” he said. “It cleans the water before it reaches a source of human drinking water.”
The report says energy development and development as towns and cities expand are making the situation worse. He said that ultimately the lost habitat jeopardizes the survival of sporting traditions such as hunting and fishing – which in turn affects the mainly rural communities that depend on them.
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