Policy Update Jan 18, 2022

NPCA Position on H.R. 268, H.R. 2773, H.R. 2793, H.R. 2872, & H.R. 4404

NPCA sent the following letter on H.R. 268, H.R. 2773, H.R. 2793, H.R. 2872 and H.R. 4404 ahead of a markup held by the House Natural Resources Committee scheduled for January 19, 2022.

H.R. 268 - To provide for the boundary of the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park to be adjusted, to authorize the donation of land to the United States for addition to that historic park, and for other purposes: NPCA supports this boundary adjustment, recognizing that the Palo Alto Battlefield is the only National Park Service site to interpret the U.S.-Mexican War, where visitors experience the land almost exactly as it stood during the two-year conflict. The inclusion of the Fort Brown resource to the current site will enable the Park Service to more fully interpret the story of Palo Alto, engaging more of the public in the natural, cultural and historic significance of the site.

H.R. 2773 - Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2021: NPCA supports this legislation, which would commit $1.3 billion annually to implement state and territorial wildlife action plans, and $97.5 million annually to tribal wildlife programs. From the Everglades to Denali, investments that states, territories, and tribes make specific to plant and wildlife management on park adjacent lands are fundamentally linked to the future of species within park boundaries. In a changing climate, increased investment in habitat and species protection is critical to park plant and wildlife resiliency and adaptation. Additionally, RAWA ensures at least 15 percent of funding will go toward recovering species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Over 600 threatened and endangered species depend on habitat in national parks and adjacent landscapes.

H.R. 2793 - Highlands Conservation Reauthorization Act of 2021: The bill authorizes a critical program that leverages federal and state funding to conserve areas in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. The program will support efforts to allow the ecosystem and wildlife to adapt to changing temperatures and increased rainstorms while increasing access to open green space for the 23 million people that live in the greater NYC metropolitan area. NPCA supports the bill as the program has proven its effectiveness to protect the Appalachian National Scenic Trail corridor and advances important climate goals.

H.R. 2872 – Safeguarding America’s Future and Environment Act: NPCA supports this legislation, which would establish a science-based, integrated approach to the impacts of the climate crisis on America’s wildlife and natural resources. National park fish, wildlife, and plants are particularly susceptible to the worst impacts of climate change. Climate change impacts threaten native brook trout populations at Great Smoky Mountains, whitebark pine populations at Yellowstone, the Western Arctic Caribou herd at Gates of the Arctic, and much more. The SAFE Act would build upon the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy, an interagency plan to help safeguard America’s natural resources and wildlife. H.R. 2872 would establish an interagency working group—composed of natural resource agencies— to develop a national climate change adaptation strategy and require increased agency coordination to respond to the impacts of climate change. It would also empower experts by creating the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center to develop and compile scientific information.

H.R. 4404 – Kissimmee River Wild and Scenic River Act: NPCA supports this legislation, which would designate segments of the Kissimmee River in Florida for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. This designation is an appropriate recognition for the massive, successful collaborative restoration effort undertaken via federal, state, and stakeholder partnerships. Kissimmee River restoration began in the early 1990s as a foundation project for Everglades restoration to restore the natural path of the river after its channelization into a drainage canal in the 1960s. Today, after recently celebrating the completion of the Kissimmee River restoration project, we can witness miles of restored floodplains and river channels and thousands of acres of restored wetlands that are already experiencing positive ecological indicators - like birds and other wildlife flourishing in the Kissimmee habitats. Finally, this legislation also helps highlight the successful federal-state partnership that is still underway to restore other critical and interconnected areas of America’s Everglades.