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 Minnesota from Excise Taxes on Anglers, Hunters and Boaters
Recreational Users Provide Record Support for Critical Conservation Projects
Population surveys, such as this one for northern pike along a tributary of Mille Lacs Lake, are critical tools for Minnesota fisheries biologists. Photo courtesy of Minnesota 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 Sportfish 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.”
Minnesota has been a recipient of user-generated funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for decades. This year the Minnesota 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 Minnesota’s fish and wildlife natural resources. Over the past several years, this funding has supported important projects including hunter safety and education and fisheries research in some major recreational lakes in Minnesota. All of these initiatives have a significant impact on the opportunities for outdoor recreation in Minnesota. The 2014 Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration apportionments will support these and future projects. Listed below are examples of conservation projects currently funded through these dollars.
National Archery in Schools Program
The National Archery in Schools curriculum has been adapted and accepted into Minnesota state schools. The national archery in schools program is an initiative to inspire youth to learn outdoor skills while also improving student motivation, attention, behavior, and focus. In Minnesota, almost 150,000 students in more than 330 schools are introduced to archery each year in their physical education classes. The Minnesota DNR sponsored program is supported by Wildlife Restoration funds and aims to provide youth with exposure to wildlife and hunting skills.
Fish Population Research and Stocking Efforts
Minnesota DNR uses Sport Fish Restoration funds for a number of different conservation efforts. This funding allows for research related to fish populations, conserving habitat, and efforts to keep fish populations of important commercial and recreation species like walleye and bass healthy in Minnesota. Minnesota also directs Sport Fish Restoration dollars to fund fish stocking which improves and diversifies fishing opportunities for Minnesotan families and youth.
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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