Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, highlighted important wins for conservation efforts in Delaware that were included in the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act, which the U.S. Senate unanimously approved Jan. 9.
Endorsed by local and national environmental groups, the ACE Act will support key wildlife conservation programs that are important to Delaware and have a proven record of success, including the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Chesapeake Bay Program, the Delaware River Restoration Fund and the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund. The ACE Act also creates new programs to tackle challenges in wildlife conservation, including invasive species and wildlife diseases.
“The ACE Act is bipartisan legislation that will help improve species conservation, protect and restore ecosystems and ensure outdoor recreation opportunities abound for generations to come,” said Carper.
“While creating new and innovative programs, the ACE Act will ensure that existing wildlife and habitat conservation programs like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and Chesapeake Bay programs can continue to build on their demonstrated history of success,” said Carper. “In Delaware, the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program is helping to restore the Bay, conserve important habitat, reduce water pollution and improve water quality. The ACE Act also ensures that the Delaware River Restoration Fund and the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund will continue to advance restoration and conservation efforts in our region by reauthorizing the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which successfully administers these funds. Many of these programs leverage private dollars and local partnerships, and create tremendous economic opportunity in our region.”
“The ACE Act also advances new initiatives for federal agencies to address the growing threats of invasive species and wildlife disease,” said Carper. “In Delaware, invasive species like the spotted lanternfly are threatening other species and agricultural practices in our state.”
Carper and EPW Chairman John Barasso, R-Wyoming, introduced the ACE Act in December 2019. Later that month, the EPW Committee unanimously passed the ACE Act at a business meeting. Sens. John Boozman, R-Arkansas; Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota; Ben Cardin, D-Maryland; Shelley Moore Capto, R-West Virginia; Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois; Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland; and Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, are cosponsors.
Among its provisions, the ACE Act will reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Establishment Act, the Chesapeake Bay Program, the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails network and the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Grants Assistance Program until 2025; authorize a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chesapeake Bay Program until 2025; commission a study by the National Academy of Sciences regarding the pathways and mechanisms of the transmission of chronic wasting disease in the U.S.; establish a CWD task force to develop an interstate action plan for state and federal cooperation relating to the disease; establish a Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize for technological innovation to reduce human-predator conflict using non-lethal means; authorize funds for federal agencies to combat the threat of invasive species; and encourage partnerships among public agencies and other interested parties for promoting fish conservation.