Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will distribute more than $862 million to all 50 states, U.S. commonwealths and territories, and the District of Columbia to support hunting, sport-fishing, and fish and wildlife conservation and education programs.
The funding, through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, is derived from excise taxes and import duties on sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, sport-fishing equipment, electric outboard motors, and fuel taxes attributable to motorboats and small engines.
"Americans have few higher callings than to conserve our treasured landscapes and bountiful wildlife and connect our children and grandchildren to the great outdoors," Salazar said. "For more than half a century, boaters, hunters, anglers, and recreational shooters, and the hunting and fishing industries have supported some of our nation's most successful programs to conserve fish and wildlife and its habitat and make it possible for Americans to enjoy them.
"Thanks to sportsmen and other outdoor enthusiasts, the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program has created countless opportunities for conservation and recreation and improved the lives of all Americans who treasure fish and wildlife," he said.
The Wildlife Restoration apportionment for 2010 totals nearly $473 million, with more than $86 million going to hunter education and firearm and archery range programs. The Sport Fish Restoration apportionment for 2010 totals more than $389 million. The federal government pays up to 75 percent of the cost of each eligible project in the 50 states and up to 100 percent in the commonwealths and territories.
"The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs are highly effective federal conservation programs. In addition to providing a stable financial source, the funding is protected by legislative safeguards preventing its diversion away from state fish and wildlife agencies," said Rowan Gould, acting director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "For states working to ensure a future for fish and wildlife, conservation education for our children, and opportunities for people to enjoy the outdoors, few programs offer this level of support and reliability."
Examples of state activities to be funded under the program include:
* The Kansas Wildlife Department of Parks and Wildlife will provide increased access to hunting on private lands through their 1,125,000 acre "Walk-In Hunting Access" program.
* New Mexico will use their funds to research factors affecting the viability of the black bear population of the Sandia Mountains, leading to improved management of the species.
* Colorado is constructing a 400-foot floating recycled tire breakwater at McPhee Reservoir in Montezuma County, Colorado in an effort to enhance fishing and boating experiences at the reservoir.
* Georgia is conducting population surveys on recreationally-important fish populations, and developing fishery management strategies to help prevent recreational overharvesting of marine sport fish species.
Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act funding is available to the 50 States, the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (State(s)). For more information on Pittman-Robertson or the Wildlife Restoration program, please visit the Fish and Wildlife service website at http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/WR/WR.htm.
Modeled after Pittman-Robertson, the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act provides funding to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands through a formula based on 40 percent of the land and water area of a state and 60 percent of the number of paid fishing license holders. For more information on the Sport Fish Restoration Program please go to: http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/SFR/SFR.htm