U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces $33 Million to Michigan for Conservation
March 7, 2016
With the help of volunteers and staff, Michigan GEM sites are able to continuously provide excellent habitat for game birds. Photo courtesy of Michigan 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. More than $201 million dollars from the excise tax revenues will be allocated to the Service’s Midwest Region. The Midwest Region’s eight states receiving this funding through the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.
“Everyone benefits from this program whether or not they hunt, fish or boat,” said Service Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius. “In many cases the parks where we watch birds, the public trails we hike on and the wildlife we observe would not exist without the funding provided by hunters, shooters, anglers and boaters. The Service's Midwest Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program is leaving a lasting legacy for our nation's outdoor heritage.”
Being a recipient of the user-generated funding for decades, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will receive $33.8 million from the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. These dollars will be entirely invested in restoring and conserving Michigan’s fish and wildlife natural resources. Over the past several years, this funding has supported important managing and monitoring of Michigan’s fisheries and ruffed grouse and American woodcock habitat enhancement. All of these projects have a significant impact on the opportunities for fishing and hunting in Michigan. The 2016 Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration apportionments will support these and other conservation projects.
Listed below are examples of conservation projects currently funded through these dollars.
Michigan Statewide Angler Survey Program
This year, Sport Fish Restoration dollars supported Michigan’s Statewide Angler Survey Program to monitor and manage the state’s fisheries. The creel census surveys provide data on the number of fish caught by sport anglers, on a particular stream or in a particular area and is used to determine effects of stocking and in planning future limits for various fish species. These censuses are costly to implement and time consuming to conduct. To help cut costs, save time and improve efficiency, a software package was developed and implemented allowing creel clerks more automation and better analysis when collecting and sharing data.
Grouse Enhanced Management Sites
GEMS are Grouse Enhancement Areas, located in the upper and northern lower parts of Michigan, providing excellent habitat for ruffed grouse and American woodcock and serve as convenient grounds for a variety of hunters and recreationalists. Michigan DNR has developed 14 GEM sites, surpassing their goal of 13 by 2016. These Wildlife Restoration funded sites also aid in expansion of local economies and the promotion of timber harvest through shortened harvest seasons.
Lake Trout Stocks in Lake Huron
Lake trout is critical to Lake Huron, ecologically and recreationally speaking. Since the collapse of alewife and the decline in chinook salmon, the importance of lake trout in the food web of this waterbody has increased over the past decade. With the support of Sport Fish Restoration funds, Michigan findings from the 2015 field season confirm that lake trout in the main basin of Lake Huron are moving from dependence on hatchery stocking to a naturally self-sustaining population.
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 Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program apportionment for 2016 totals $695 million. The Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program apportionment for 2016 totals $361 million.
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, visit http://www.fws.gov/news/ShowNews.cfm?ref=service-distributes-$1.1-billion-to-state-wildlife-agencies-to-support-&_ID=35495. To learn more about the projects funded in the Service’s Midwest Region, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/news/WSFR2016.html.
To learn more about the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, please visit our website at http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov.