Friday, February 18, 2011

Salazar Announces Funding to States for Fish and Wildlife Projects

Official portrait of Secretary of the Interior...Image via WikipediaHunting and fishing industry, as well as recreational shooters, hunters,
boaters, and anglers, continue to fund conservation in the nation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — 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.
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