Erica Szlosek 916/978-6159
Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne has announced the distribution of more than $700 million to 56 state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to fund fish and wildlife conservation efforts, boat access, shooting ranges and hunter education efforts. According to Steve Thompson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Regional Director, California and Nevada will receive more than $41 million, an increase over last year’s funding.
“These grants provide significant support for wildlife conservation efforts across California and Nevada,” said Thompson. “This funding makes a real difference in our area, and would not be possible without the hunters, anglers and sportsmen who pay excise taxes on purchases of firearms, ammunition, archery and angling equipment, and boat motor fuels.”
These grants are made available through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs, which are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Wildlife Restoration apportionment for 2008 totals $10.3 million in California and $5.4 million in Nevada. The Sport Fish Restoration apportionment totals $19.9 million in California and $5.8 million in Nevada. Federal Assistance funds pay up to 75 percent of the cost of each eligible project of which the states are required to contribute at least 25 percent.
Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act funding is apportioned through a formula based on land area and the number of hunting license holders in each state. State and territorial wildlife agencies use the money to manage wildlife, conduct habitat research, carry out studies and surveys, acquire lands for wildlife as well as public access, conduct hunter education programs and maintain shooting ranges.
Nationwide, more than 62 percent of the Wildlife Restoration funds have been used to buy, develop, or operate and maintain state wildlife management areas. Since the program began, 68 million acres have been acquired through fee simple purchase, lease agreements, or easements and more that 390 million acres have been operated and maintained using this funding.
Numerous species of wildlife such as the wild turkey, white-tailed deer, and black bear have increased in numbers due to advances in research and habitat management funded by the Wildlife Restoration program. The state wildlife agencies have also improved more than 30 million acres of habitat and developed more than 44,000 acres of waterfowl impoundments. More than 9 million landowners have been provided with management assistance for fish and wildlife on their lands. In addition, the states have certified more than 8.9 million hunter education and safety students, with more than 3 million participating in live fire exercises on a shooting range.
The Sport Fish Restoration Program is funded through the collection of excise taxes and import duties on sport fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels, and pleasure boats. These funds are allocated to the states on a formula that involves the land and water area, inland waters and the Great Lakes and marine coastal areas if applicable, and the number of fish license holders. States use the funds to pay for the stocking of fish, acquiring and improving sport fish habitat, providing aquatic resource education and conducting fisheries research. The funding is also used for construction of boat ramps and fishing piers, and for acquiring and maintaining public access facilities for recreational boaters.
Since the inception of the Sport Fish Restoration program, states have acquired 351,000 acres in fee simple, lease agreements, or easements, and have supported the operation and maintenance of more than 15.5 million acres. States have stocked over 6.5 billion fish and developed more than 2,600 boating-related facilities and renovated or improved over 6,200 boating access sites. More than 11.3 million people have taken part in aquatic resource education programs.
For more information concerning these two fish and wildlife conservation programs and a comprehensive list of state-by-state funding allocations, go to: http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov.