Gallego, Udall Bill to Protect Tribal Wildlife Corridors Approved by House Natural Resources Committee
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House Natural Resources Committee approved the Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act of 2019 to support the use of wildlife corridors on Tribal lands. The bill was introduced by Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), chairman of the House Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples, and U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
“Indigenous communities have long led by example when it comes to responsible and effective stewardship of our land and wildlife,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego. “We must ensure Tribes have the resources they need to protect wildlife migration and habitats on Tribal land. I’m pleased that the House Natural Resources Committee approved this bill to reaffirm a key aspect of Tribal sovereignty and improve federal support and coordination for the creation and maintenance of wildlife corridors in Indian Country.”
Wildlife corridors aim to connect similar pieces of land into stretches of habitat to allow migration, protecting migration routes and safeguarding species from the devastating impacts of climate change and habitat loss due to human development.
The Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act of 2019 empowers Tribes to enhance native habitat connectivity on Tribal lands by:
- Requiring the U.S. Forest Service to consider opportunities to link Tribal Wildlife Corridors to U.S. Forest Service-managed lands;
- Requiring the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to conduct meaningful consultation with Tribes administering a recognized Tribal Wildlife Corridor;
- Requiring DOI to provide technical assistance to Tribes to establish, manage, or expand a Tribal Wildlife Corridor;
- Prioritizing U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation projects that would enhance native species movement through the expansion of a Tribal Wildlife Corridor;
- Establishing a grant program to encourage native species movement; and
- Ensuring the authorized activities in the bill do not impact the use of private property or Tribal lands.