FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 8, 2014
Contacts: Joanna Gilkeson 612-713-5170 & Jim Hodgson 612-713-5131
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces $35 Million to Michigan from Excise Taxes on Anglers, Hunters and Boaters
Recreational Users Provide Record Support for Critical Conservation Projects
The Lake Char is one of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ research vessels. It works in the waters of Lake Superior and is in part supported by Sport Fish Restoration funding. Photo by Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
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.”
Michigan has been a recipient of user-generated funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for decades. This year the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will receive over $35 million in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration dollars. All of this funding has been invested in restoring and conserving Michigan’s fish and wildlife natural resources. Over the past several years, this funding has supported important projects researching Michigan’s fisheries, studying predator and prey dynamics and fish stocking, which will have a significant impact on resource management and outdoor recreation opportunities Michigan. The 2014 Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration apportionments will support these and future conservation projects.
Listed below are examples of conservation projects currently funded through these dollars.
Managing Michigan’s Fisheries through Research on the Great Lakes
This year, Sport Fish Restoration dollars supported the Michigan DNR’s ability to have all four of its research vessels out on the open water to conduct annual surveys of Great Lakes fish populations. The Great Lakes vessels survey the fish to estimate fish abundance, biomass, age and growth, survival rates and natural reproduction among other things in Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan. These vessels survey many fish species including lake trout, chinook salmon, and walleye as well as the amount of sea lamprey wounding seen on the fish. The data collected helps to manage Michigan’s important fish resources and inform catch limits for recreational and commercial anglers in the area.
Fawn Predation Research in the Upper Peninsula
The Michigan DNR, in partnership with Mississippi State University, is currently studying what factors affect fawn survival. The study, which began in 2009, looks at the role of multiple predators, winter weather, and habitat on the survival of fawns from year to year. Researchers are looking to quantify fawn predation and investigate how the various limiting factors interact to influence fawn survival. In the harsh winters of 1995 and 1996, Michigan’s deer population crashed and the deer have not responded in the following years as researchers predicted they would. This study is designed to find out why. Many partners make this research possible including funding from the Wildlife Restoration Program.
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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