I have enjoyed hunting and fishing in our great state for more than 50 years. But in the last few years I’ve seen firsthand a decline in some wildlife species and habitat where all our wildlife live. It’s not just me, The National Wildlife Federation recently released a report showing that moose populations in Utah have dramatically declined over the past five years. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources have identified 169 species of greater conservation concern, while nationally, scientists warn that one-third of all wildlife species are at heightened risk of extinction. One of the major causes of the wildlife crisis is lost or degraded habitat.

Fortunately, Congress is considering a bipartisan bill to restore habitat on our waters and lands and boost wildlife populations. It’s called the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act and it would invest approximately $21 million annually in Utah for proactive, voluntary efforts led by state and tribal wildlife managers to ensure that wildlife species don’t become endangered.

Safeguarding our iconic wildlife will also expand opportunities for hunting and fishing and boost our economy. Hunting, fishing and wildlife watching generate nearly $3 billion in consumer spending in Utah every year, supporting 29,000 jobs. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act already has 34 bipartisan co-sponsors. Please join me in urging Sen. Mitt Romney to become a supporter as well. This commonsense legislation will ensure that Utah’s wildlife heritage will thrive for generations to come.

Bill Christensen