President Donald Trump recently signed America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act into law. The legislation will help to address several challenges that ranchers face in regard to wildlife. Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming and Tom Carper of Delaware introduced the legislation at the end of 2019. The bill was passed through the U.S. House of Representatives in early October and was signed by President Trump four weeks later.
“America’s Conservation Enhancement Act builds on state and stakeholder commitments to restore wetlands and improve water quality by reauthorizing effective programs,” Carper said in a press release. “The ACE Act will help to drive the development of new and innovative solutions for growing threats like invasive species and wildlife disease – threats we know will only become more challenging with our changing climate.”
One of the most important aspects of the legislation is the allowances afforded to ranchers and other landowners. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be able to issue depredation permits to livestock producers for the taking of black vultures and other common ravens under specific circumstances. Funding support totaling $5 million annually for the next five years will be authorized to combat invasive species. The ACE Act also establishes a program to provide payments to ranchers who experience livestock depredations from federally protected species. Funding is also authorized to assist producers in implementing non-lethal deterrence methods.
The ACE Act reauthorizes several initiatives such as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Act until 2025. A study by the National Academy of Sciences will be commissioned to examine the transmission of chronic wasting disease (CWD). The legislation also establishes a CWD task force for better state and federal cooperation relating to the disease. Another category of the Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize for technological innovation will also be established. The new category will focus on reducing human-predator conflict through the use of non-lethal means.