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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

October 23, 1998

Laury Parramore 202-208-5634

 

HUNTERS, ANGLERS, AND BOATERS GIVE STATE FISH AND WILDLIFE
AGENCIES A $300 MILLION BUDGET BOOST

Better bass fisheries and boat ramps and enhanced hunter education and habitat restoration programs are just some of the items on state agencies' Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program shopping lists for the 1999 fiscal year. Agencies can conduct this work thanks to a recent $301.7 million budget boost from the hunters, anglers, and boaters who fund the program through excise taxes they pay on purchases of motorboat fuels and hunting and fishing equipment.

"Everyone who enjoys the outdoors--not just hunters and anglers--benefits from the important work carried out under the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Jamie Rappaport Clark. "Hunters', anglers', and boaters' purchases have contributed billions of dollars to conservation and recreation efforts at the state level. The apportionment of these funds ensures that these successful programs receive steady support."

The $301.7 million is provided to states as a preliminary apportionment that is based on receipts for the first 9 months of sales in Fiscal Year 1998, which ended June 30. Additional funds will become available after receipts for the July-to-September 1998 quarter are calculated.

Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program money is distributed for projects proposed by states and approved by the Service. The funds pay up to 75 percent of the cost of each project; states contribute at least 25 percent of the cost.

The preliminary apportionment for wildlife restoration and hunter education programs for Fiscal Year 1999 totals $116.8 million, up from $104.7 million in Fiscal Year 1998. The money is derived from an 11-percent excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition, a 10-percent tax on pistols and revolvers, and a 12.4-percent tax on certain archery equipment. One-half of the tax on handguns and archery equipment is made available for state hunter education and shooting range programs.

The preliminary apportionment for sport fish restoration for Fiscal Year 1999 totals $184.9 million, down from $197.1 million in Fiscal Year 1998. This funding results from a 10-percent excise tax on fishing equipment and a 3-percent tax on electric trolling motors and sonar fish finders. The tax base for sport fish restoration also includes a portion of the Federal fuels tax and import duties on fishing tackle and pleasure boats.

Distribution of sport fish restoration funds to the states is based on the land and water area and the number of fishing license holders in each state. Wildlife restoration funds are made available based on land area and the number of hunting license holders in each state. Distribution of hunter education funds is based on the relative population of each state.

The attached tables show the allocation of the preliminary apportionment for Fiscal Year 1999. Final apportionments will be announced in the next 3 months.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, consisting of more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state wildlife agencies.


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