Take action for restoration jobs that stimulate the economy

Take action for restoration jobs that stimulate the economy

Conservation Northwest / May 06, 2020 / Action Alert, Legislation

WILD NW Action Alert #302: Ask Washington’s U.S. Representatives to include $100 billion in conservation funding in the next stimulus package.

May 12 UPDATE: all of Washington state’s Democratic U.S. Representatives have signed this letter! Stay tuned for more information. We much appreciate the more than 330 people who took action through our link, and this show of support for restoration funding!

As communities across the country are struggling with unemployment and economic hardship during the COVID-19 crisis, a new opportunity to create millions of good-paying jobs that also support nature conservation is making its way to Congress.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would fund State Wildlife Action Plans to recover at-risk species, like Washington’s fishers. Photo: David Moskowitz

Several Democratic Members of Congress are drafting a letter to House leadership, urging them to include a “Restoration and Resilience Jobs” title in a future economic recovery package. This would provide more than $100 billion in funding for natural resource and recreational infrastructure projects across America, including wildlife crossings, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, habitat restoration, wildfire response, improved access for recreation, and much more.

We are asking residents of Washington’s 1st, 7th, 9th and 10th congressional districts (representing the Puget Sound region and parts of Central Washington), to contact their U.S. Representatives and ask them to sign this important letter! The deadline is Thursday, May 14.

Take action and contact your U.S. Representative with one click!

Or find your Members of Congress here. Scroll down for suggested comments.

Funding would go toward forest restoration, improved recreation access, wildlife recovery, and more. Photo: David Moskowitz

We’ve seen how the COVID-19 crisis has underscored the need for protecting our natural heritage to promote healthy and prosperous communities. We also know that the outdoor industry, one of the fastest-growing sectors of our economy, makes up 4.8 percent of U.S. employment and generates 4.1 percent of our GDP, but has been largely stalled due to the pandemic.

Time is of the essence, and including this conservation funding in the next stimulus supports a clear path forward to economic and environmental recovery. Please take action today

This funding could create as many as three million near-term jobs, especially bolstering industries currently hard hit by unemployment, including agriculture, forestry, ranching, energy and outdoor recreation. By putting into motion restoration projects that have already been vetted and approved by the NEPA process but just need funding, the effects of this plan would be immediate.

Natural infrastructure jobs like constructing wildlife crossing would boost the economy while keeping wildlife and motorists safe. Photo: Chase Gunnell

The $100 billion included in this plan would directly support much-needed conservation efforts in Washington state and across the country. View a full breakdown here. Some notable fund allocations include:

  • $9 billion to enact the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, legislation we have long fought for that would fund State Wildlife Action Plans to reverse the decline of non-game wildlife species, including Washington’s fishers, Canada lynx and pygmy rabbits.
  • $1 billion to construct wildlife crossings that reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and reconnect habitat for wildlife.
  • $10 billion for restoring, reforesting, and improving resilience of national forests and accelerating collaborative forest landscape restoration.
  • $2 billion for implementing federal recovery plans for Endangered and Threatened Species to create short-term habitat restoration jobs and reduce regulatory uncertainty.
  • $18.5 billion to enact the Great American Outdoors Act, which will fix recreational infrastructure on federal public lands, and expand access to outdoor recreation through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  • $5 billion for improving wildfire preparedness in vulnerable communities.

In addition to restoring our natural heritage, these jobs will benefit public health by providing cleaner air and water, increasing access to the outdoors, sequestering carbon, recovering wildlife, and making communities more resilient to natural disasters. This would be a win for public health, the economy, and our natural heritage.

We applaud Representatives Derek Kilmer, Rick Larsen, and Kim Schrier of Washington’s 6th, 2nd and 8th congressional districts, respectively, for signing onto this letter already, and are hopeful each of Washington’s Democratic Members of Congress will soon follow suit.

Please join us in urging our state’s delegation to support this critical piece of funding in the next stimulus package.

Suggested message to Representatives Suzan DelBene, Pramila Jayapal, Adam Smith and Denny Heck:

Dear Congressman/Congresswoman,

I am writing you to ask that you sign a Dear Colleague letter that was recently sent to all Democrats in the House, requesting House leadership to include a “Restoration and Resilience Jobs” title in a future economic recovery package.

The current public health crisis, unemployment crisis and looming climate crisis each make this investment necessary for the lives of all Americans. This is an opportunity to quickly put millions of Americans back to work restoring natural resources and improving public health. Industries that have been disproportionately affected by unemployment, including agriculture, forestry, ranching, energy and outdoor recreation, would especially benefit.

This funding could provide three million Americans with good-paying jobs, while also putting into action much-needed restoration projects that benefit our environment. During the COVID-19 crisis, access to nature has provided mental and physical health benefits, underscoring how healthy communities rely on healthy ecosystems, and stressing the need to protect our natural heritage for future generations.

A “Restoration and Resilience Jobs” title creates a clear path toward economic recovery, resilient and healthy communities, and thriving ecosystems.

Please consider supporting this letter urging leadership to include restoration jobs in a future economic recovery package.

Thank you.


Access to outdoor recreation provides mental and health benefits, as well as an economic boost to local communities. Photo: Chase Gunnell