FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 8, 2014
Contacts: Joanna Gilkeson, 612-713-5170 & Jim Hodgson, 612-713-5131
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces $15 Million to Iowa from Excise Taxes on Anglers, Hunters and Boaters
Recreational Users Provide Record Support for Critical Conservation Projects
900 acres of sunflowers and millet were planted to enhance dove hunting opportunities in Iowa. Photo courtesy of the Iowa DNR.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will distribute nearly $1.1 billion in excise tax revenues paid by sportsmen and sportswomen to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects across the nation. The Service’s Midwest Region received over $210 million dollars from the excise tax revenues. This funding will be distributed among the Midwest Region’s 8 states including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin by the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.
“For over 75 years, hunters, shooters, anglers and boaters have supported the conservation of fish and wildlife resources and the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program,” said Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius. “Their support has left a lasting legacy in the Midwest – restoring fish and wildlife populations, improving access for recreational boaters and boosting conservation related education programs helping people to connect with hunting, shooting, fishing and boating.”
Iowa has been a recipient of user-generated funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for decades. This year the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will receive over $15 million in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration dollars. All of this funding has been invested in restoring and conserving Iowa’s fish and wildlife natural resources. In the past, this funding has supported important projects including Iowa’s Lost Grove Lake recreation site and the restoration of Wildlife Management Areas for native song bird habitat. These programs have had significant impacts on the public outdoor recreation opportunities in Iowa. The 2014 Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program apportionments will support these ongoing projects and new restoration projects. Listed below are examples of conservation projects currently funded through these dollars.
Lost Grove Lake Recreation Site
The Lost Grove Lake recreation site, in southeast Iowa, has been the focus of Sport Fish Restoration dollars since 1987 when the site was selected for acquisition and future lake construction. The Iowa DNR’s $12.3 million dollar project is nearly complete, and funding for the Lost Grove Lake site has supported land acquisition, dam construction, angler shore access, fish habitat, shore protection, boat ramps, parking lots, bathroom amenities, road paving, and fish stocking. The project aims to create recreational opportunities by way of boating and fishing, promote economic growth, and provide conservation benefits such soil conservation and water quality benefits in an area lacking lake fishing opportunities.
Wildlife Management Areas for Dove Hunting
Iowa began its first dove hunting season in September 2011 after the legislature passed the first dove season. In order to provide good recreational opportunities for dove hunters, biologists from Iowa DNR planted 900 acres of sunflowers and millet on wildlife management areas throughout the state. Wildlife Restoration funding help fund DNR staff time, equipment and supplies to plant plots which provide habitat for native song birds and doves to improve hunting opportunities for the public.
The Service apportions the funds to all 50 states and territories through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs. Revenues come from excise taxes generated by the sale of 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 total distributions this year are $238.4 million higher than last year because of the inclusion of funds that were not distributed last year due to the government sequester and an increase in excise tax receipts from sales of firearms and ammunition in the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund.
The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program apportionment for 2014 totals a record $760.9 million, which includes $20 million that was sequestered from FY 2013 but subsequently returned to the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund. The Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program apportionment for 2014 totals $325.7 million, which includes $18.5 million that was sequestered from FY 2013 but subsequently returned to the Sport Fish Restoration Trust Fund. The FY 2014 Sport Fish Restoration apportionment is $34.1 million lower than FY 2013 due to lower domestic fishing equipment excise tax receipts.
The 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. For information on funding for each state, click here. To learn more about the projects funded in the Service’s Midwest Region, click here.
To learn more about the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, please visit our website at http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/.
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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