Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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A male blue-winged teal. Waterfowl management in Wisconsin is another example of how these grant dollars are used by the states. Photo by Alex Galt/USFWS.

A male blue-winged teal. Waterfowl management in Wisconsin is another example of how these grant dollars are used by the states. Photo by Alex Galt/USFWS.

Service Provides More Than $224 Million to Midwest
State Wildlife Agencies Benefiting Outdoor Recreationists,
Conservation, Regional Economies

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced the distribution of $1.1 billion in revenues generated by the hunting and angling industry to all 50 state and territorial wildlife agencies. The Service’s Midwest Region will receive more than $224 million of these funds to support a wide array of state-led conservation issues such as native plant restoration, hunter education, elk restoration and fish stocking. Funds are distributed by the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, and support critical state-specific fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects that benefit all Americans.

Midwest Region states will receive the following wildlife and sport fish apportionment funds for 2015:

Illinois – $23,783,360

Indiana – $18,386,530

Iowa – $16,502,569

Michigan – $37,569,842

Minnesota – $37,850,616

Missouri – $29,783,609

Ohio – $24,084,830

Wisconsin – $36,479,149

“These funds are the cornerstone of state-based efforts that are critical to the preservation of America’s wildlife and natural resources,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “But they are also the fuel for a massive financial engine that benefits outdoor recreationists, hunters and anglers, equipment manufacturers and retailers, and local and regional economies. Their value cannot be overstated in providing opportunities for the next generation of Americans to get outdoors, experience our wild places and learn the importance of conserving our natural heritage.”

Funds are made possibly by 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, electric boat motors, and from taxes on the purchase of motorboat fuel. Since their inception, the programs have generated more than $15 billion to conserve fish and wildlife resources and support outdoor recreation opportunities for the American public. The recipient State fish and wildlife agencies have matched these funds with more than $5 billion over the years, mostly through hunting and fishing license revenues.

Examples of Midwest state-led projects supported through previous and current grant funding include:

Illinois - White-tailed deer are one of the most popular and valuable wildlife resources in Illinois, so managing this species is a top concern to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Persistent diseases like chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis present pressing issues to deer population managers. Illinois’ deer population has had chronic wasting disease since 2002, and with support from the Wildlife Restoration Program, the Illinois DNR has been actively managing the spread and prevalence of it by sharpshooting in selected areas and by increasing hunter harvest in positive counties. The project is also investigating how localized removal of deer affects social interactions, dispersal, and contact rates of deer.

IndianaIn June 2010, then Gov. Mitch Daniels announced the ground-breaking Healthy Rivers INitiative, the largest land conservation initiative to be undertaken in Indiana. The initiative is a partnership of resource agencies and organizations who work with willing landowners to permanently protect more than 43,000 acres located in the floodplain of the Wabash River and Sugar Creek in west-central Indiana, and more than 26,000 acres of the Muscatatuck River bottomlands in southeast Indiana. The Wildlife Restoration Program is a significant Healthy Rivers Initiative partner. Indiana Department of Natural Resources intends to use approximately $3 million in federal grant funds to purchase 1,000 acres of land for wildlife restoration and wildlife- associated recreation activities including fishing, hiking, boating and bird watching.

Iowa - In Iowa, greater prairie chickens were once so abundant that one flight was estimated at 33,000 birds, extending half a mile long, 50 yards wide and three to four birds deep. The last prairie chicken in Iowa was seen in 1956 due to market hunting and habitat loss. Today, Iowa biologists strive to return a breeding population to Iowa. Grant dollars from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program assist with every step of the way, through funding staff, population surveys, habitat management and restoration, land acquisition and technical guidance to private landowners.

MichiganIn the summer of 2014, Michigan Department of Natural Resources began extensive restoration efforts at the Three Rivers State Game Area in Michigan to restore a 75-acre oak savannah/fen complex. The goal is to restore high-quality habitat for wild turkeys, eastern massasauga rattlesnakes, white-tailed deer, American woodcock and other species in Michigan’s southwestern Lower Peninsula. Before restoration the site was a combination of old fields, wetlands, and abandoned pasture intermixed with several large oak and hickory trees. This conservation project is supported through Wildlife Restoration funds and will occur over three years’ time.

Minnesota - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources rears and releases muskie into Minnesota lakes. With muskie fishing commanding a growing following and Minnesota’s reputation for muskie fishing, it is a destination for anglers. This means our avid anglers often keep tabs on how the Minnesota DNR stocks muskie. The agency, too, wants to know how effective it’s stocking efforts are, to make sure management work paid for by hunting and fishing license dollars are being wisely spent. This program tracks the effectiveness of muskie stocking in the state and is supported through Sport Fish Restoration funds.

Missouri - Fishing is a great way for everyone to have fun outdoors, learn about conservation, and make happy memories together. To make fishing more accessible, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Discover Nature — Fishing Program helps Missourians gain skills and confidence to go fishing on their own. Classes are free and the following topics are taught by experienced volunteer anglers: fishing equipment and casting, fish handling, baiting, biology of common Missouri fish and fishing regulations. The angler-education program is funded through the Service’s Sport Fish Restoration Program.

Ohio - Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Fallsville Wildlife Area Archery Range opened on October 17, 2014. The range is part of Ohio’s comprehensive range development project and was identified by the Ohio DNR shooting range committee as a priority based on the surrounding population, public hunting access and current archery range availability in the surrounding area. The newly constructed range offers fourteen shooting lanes at various yard ranges, an elevated shooting platform and a broad head pit. The shooting line, parking lot, walkways, target paths, and restrooms are all mobility accessible, built in compliance with ADA standards. The range was supported by Wildlife Restoration funds.

WisconsinWisconsin Department of Natural Resources is conducting statewide bobcat research and monitoring in a multi-pronged effort to better understand the bobcat and its growing population. Current efforts employ harvest data, such as age-structure and pregnancy rates, along with data derived from radio-collared animals and remote camera traps. Funding through the Wildlife Restoration Program has been leveraged to facilitate these studies and has allowed Wisconsin to refine population models, predict bobcat habitat use and range, and inform harvest management decisions.

A state-by-state listing of the Service’s final apportionment of Wildlife Restoration Funds and Sport Fish Restoration funds for Fiscal Year 2015, as well as more information on the Service’s WSFR program can be found at http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/.

By Joanna Gilkeson
Regional Office - External Affairs

Prairie Chicken restoration is supported by these grant funds. These prairie chickens were spotted within the Kellerton Grasslands Bird Conservation Area. Photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Prairie Chicken restoration is supported by these grant funds. These prairie chickens were spotted within the Kellerton Grasslands Bird Conservation Area. Photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Little Rice Lake provides great waterfowl habitat in northern Minnesota and is supported by Wildlife Restoration funds. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Little Rice Lake provides great waterfowl habitat in northern Minnesota and is supported by Wildlife Restoration funds. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

 

 

Last updated: June 4, 2015