FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 19, 2012
USFWS - Jim Hodgson, 612-713-5131
MN DNR – CB Bylander, 651-259-5192
Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program Celebrates 75 Year Milestone
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in what promises to be a historic year, joins partners in celebration of the 75th anniversary of its Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. The mainstay program, based on a user-pay-user-benefit conservation principle, connects outdoor enthusiasts to stewardship of the land. The aptly named “WSFR 75—It’s Your Nature” celebration was kicked off by the Service and its partners on January 17 at the 2012 Shot Show in Las Vegas, Nev. There will be a series of events throughout the year to commemorate the program which began with the passing of the Pittman Robertson Act in 1937.
By utilizing a consumer business life cycle model that integrates environmental stewardship, the WSFR program has made huge strides over the years. "I'm so proud of the success that this remarkable partnership with the community has achieved," said USFWS Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius. "I would like to thank our partners for helping to facilitate outdoor recreation for this and generations to come.” Last year alone the Service granted a total of $749 million dollars in funding nationwide.
WSFR revenue is an important component of many state conservation agency budgets. In 2011 the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources received $11.5 million from the Pittman-Robertson Federal Wildlife Restoration program. These funds were used to acquire and improve habitat, maintain wildlife management areas, manage wildlife populations, conduct research and surveys, and deliver hunter education programs.
Similarly, the agency received $13.6 million from the Dingell-Johnson Federal Sport Fish Restoration program. These funds were used to acquire habitat, produce and stock fish, conduct research and surveys, provide aquatic education to youth and acquire and develop boat accesses.
Together, these dollar amounts represent about one-fourth of the annual revenue of Minnesota’s Game and Fish Fund.
“The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration programs are critical to the foundation of our state’s fish and wildlife management programs and represent an enduring example of the support that anglers and hunters have provided to conservation over the last 75 years,” said Ed Boggess, director of the Minnesota DNR’s fish and wildlife division. “We have used wildlife and sport fish restoration dollars to acquire more than 393,000 acres of permanent habitat open to hunting and wildlife related recreation. We have also used these dollars to create and maintain some of the best fishing in the nation.”
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
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