FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 8, 2014
Contacts: Joanna Gilkeson 612-713-5170 & Jim Hodgson 612-713-5131
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces $34 Million to Wisconsin from Excise Taxes on Anglers, Hunters and Boaters
Recreational Users Provide Record Support for Critical Conservation Projects
A recently collared fawn will help Wisconsin to estimate fawn survival rates. Photo courtesy of Wisconsin 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.”
Wisconsin has been a recipient of user-generated funding from the Service for decades. This year, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will receive over $34 million dollars in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration dollars. All of this funding has been invested in restoring and conserving Wisconsin’s fish and wildlife natural resources. Over the years, funding has supported important restoration projects including deer population research and fish hatchery renovations. These projects will inform conservation resource management and ultimately improve outdoor recreation opportunities in Wisconsin. The 2014 Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funds will support ongoing projects and new conservation projects. Listed below are examples of conservation projects funded through these dollars.
Estimating Deer Populations
Wildlife Restoration Dollars are supporting a collaborative project by the Wisconsin DNR and the University of Wisconsin – Madison to study the mortality of white-tailed deer. The purpose of the study is to provide estimates of buck harvest rates, which will inform Wisconsin deer management and hunting policy. In addition to the buck project, the DNR and university are also partnering to study white-tailed deer fawn survival and cause-specific mortality to help measure population dynamics. The data from these studies will inform deer management decisions and improve hunting opportunities for Wisconsin hunters. Both of these projects have been made in part possible by Wildlife Restoration Dollars.
Yellowstone Shooting Range
After nearly 20 years of construction, the Yellowstone Shooting Range in Southwestern Wisconsin reopened its doors on Sept. 14, 2013. The Wisconsin DNR had been remodeling the range for nearly 20 years to offer greater shooting opportunities and enhance safety precautions. The updated range now features a 100 yard range with eight shooting stations, a 50 yard range with six stations and a 25 foot handgun range with six stations. Berms were added to separate the three ranges for safety. Hunter education and connecting people with natural resources is a priority for the Wisconsin DNR which was largely supported by Wildlife Restoration dollars.
Wild Rose Hatchery Renovation
The Wild Rose Hatchery was originally purchased by the Wisconsin DNR in 1908. With the support of Sport Fish Restoration funds, Wisconsin completed its renovation of the Wild Rose Hatchery in 2011. Wisconsin decided to renovate the hatchery due to its dated facilities and water supply problems. Wild Rose Hatchery is significant to the state’s $2.3 billion sport fishing industry because it produces over 60% of northern pike, over 35% of trout and salmon as well as lake sturgeon and spotted musky for fish stocking in Wisconsin. The hatchery is now an efficient facility which enables Wisconsin to have a diverse and abundant fish population increasing opportunities for anglers in the state and Lake Michigan.
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 because of 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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