Hunting and fishing industry, as well as recreational shooters, hunters, boaters, and anglers, continue to fund conservation in the nation
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today the distribution of more than $749 million in excise tax revenues generated by sportsmen and women to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies through the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration and Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Programs.
"Hunters and anglers have provided the foundation for wildlife conservation in America for more than 75 years. They continue to provide dedicated, critical funding for fish and wildlife agencies across the nation, especially at a time when many state budgets are under pressure," said Secretary Salazar. "These funds will support important fish and wildlife management and conservation, recreational boating access, and hunter and aquatic education programs."
Program funds come from excise taxes paid by manufacturers, producers, and importers on sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment and tackle, and electric outboard motors. Recreational boaters also contribute to the program through fuel taxes on motorboats and small engines.
The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program apportionment for 2011 totals more than $384 million, of which more than $79 million is for hunter education and safety programs. The Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program apportionment for 2011 totals nearly $365 million, of which nearly $55 million is for recreational boating access facilities. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program reimburses up to 75 percent of the cost of each eligible project while State fish and wildlife agencies contribute a minimum of 25 percent, generally using hunting and fishing license revenues as the required non-Federal match.
"Our partnership with America's hunting, fishing and boating community through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs is the cornerstone for funding fish and wildlife conservation," said Curtis Taylor, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Chief of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Section. "Fish and wildlife can be conserved, protected and restored through science-based management and this year's apportionment is critical in order for state fish and wildlife agencies to continue their work on behalf of everyone who values our nation's natural resources."
Please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program Web site at http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/ for more information on the goals and accomplishments of these programs and for individual State, Commonwealth, and territorial funding allocations. Some examples of activities planned by State fish and wildlife agencies in 2011 include:
Florida -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will construct a restroom facility and a pavilion at the Escambia County Archery Park. They will also construct a trap and skeet range and a .22 plinking range at Tenoroc Shooting Range. This will provide more recreational shooting opportunities for the public.
Rhode Island -- The Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife will acquire approximately 85 acres adjoining Carr Pond near North Kingstown, Rhode Island. This property is a former Girl Scout property. The pond is the site of an extremely productive herring and alewife run. The property will provide protection of fish and wildlife habitat in the area and recreational opportunities for the public.
Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will construct a new two-lane boat ramp, parking lot, courtesy dock, and lighting in Muenster, Texas. The new facility will provide the only public access to the lake for fishing and other recreational boating pursuits. This will be the first public boat ramp in Cooke County.
Oregon -- The agency will identify sturgeon population limiting factors, develop responsive management strategies, and define pertinent monitoring and evaluation activities as part of management plan development. They will also measure juvenile recruitment through young-of-the-year sampling in the lower Columbia River and carry out a pilot study of set line sampling for adult and sub-adult white sturgeon. Sampling for young-of-year white sturgeon will increase the effects of environmental stressors on the population. A supplementary benefit of this task is the opportunity to collect DNA tissue samples that represent fish in a single year's recruitment. DNA samples will be available for future characterization of effective spawning population size and for genetic stock comparisons with fish collected outside the Columbia River.
Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program funding is available to all 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. One-half of the 11 percent excise tax on bows, arrows, and archery equipment and 10 percent excise tax on handguns, pistols, and revolvers make up the funding for hunter education programs. The other one-half of the excise tax are for wildlife restoration purposes, including the 11 percent excise tax on firearms and ammunition.
Each state or territory receives a Wildlife Restoration Program apportionment derived from a formula that incorporates its total land area and number of paid hunting license holders. Each state or territory may not receive more than 5 percent or less than one-half of 1 percent of the total apportionment. Fish and wildlife agencies use these funds to manage wildlife populations, conduct habitat research, acquire wildlife habitat, enhance wildlife habitat, and public hunting access, carry out surveys and inventories, administer hunter education programs, and construct and maintain shooting and archery ranges.
The Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program funding is available to all 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. States receive funds through a formula based on the land and water area of the state or territory and its total number of paid fishing license holders. Sport Fish Restoration funds come from excise taxes and import duties on sport fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels, and pleasure boats. No State may receive more than 5 percent or less than one-third of 1 percent of the total apportionment.
Fish and Wildlife agencies use the funds to pay for stocking sport fish; acquiring and improving sport fish habitat; providing aquatic resource education opportunities; conducting fisheries research; maintaining public fishing access, administering the aquatic resource education program, and constructing boat ramps, fishing piers, and other facilities for recreational boating access.
The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs have generated a total of more than $13.7 billion since their inception -- in 1937 in the case of the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program, and 1950 for the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program. to conserve fish and wildlife resources. The recipient fish and wildlife agencies have matched these program funds with more than $3.4 billion. This funding is critical to continue sustaining healthy fish and wildlife populations and provide opportunities for all to connect with nature.