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The Mountain-Prairie Region


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

March 10, 1998

Laury Marshall Parramore 202-208-5634



America's hunters, anglers, shooters, and boaters once again are supporting our Nation's most successful conservation efforts and outdoor recreation opportunities, thanks to $426,836,814 they paid in excise taxes during 1997.

Revenues from these taxes go directly to states for their Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration programs, which involve everything from hunter education to boat ramp construction to fisheries research. The funds are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Division of Federal Aid.

"Hunters and anglers are the heart of conservation," said Service Director Jamie Rappaport Clark. "Beginning more than 60 years ago, they asked Congress to apply these excise taxes to support conservation of the lands and wildlife they cherish. All outdoor lovers benefit from state projects that are supported by these funds. In addition, these programs demonstrate the success of a user-pay approach to enhancing conservation and outdoor recreation benefits and opportunities."

A total of $272,028,441 was apportioned to the states under the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program, also known as the Dingell-Johnson/Wallop-Breaux acts for the members of Congress who introduced legislation for these laws. This compares to the $273.2 million distributed last year. The decrease in funding is due to year-end adjustments in receipts by the Internal Revenue Service.

Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration funding comes from a 10-percent excise tax on fishing equipment, a 3-percent tax on electric trolling motors and sonar fish finders, taxes on motorboat fuels, and import duties on fishing tackle and pleasure boats.

States can use these funds to stock fish; acquire and improve sport fish habitat; provide aquatic resource education opportunities; conduct fisheries research, including surveys and inventories of sport fish populations; develop boat ramps, fishing piers, and other recreational facilities; and engage in other related activities.

 A total of $154,808,373 was apportioned to states under the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson Act for the members of Congress who introduced the legislation in 1937. An apportionment of $27,648,099 of this total is allocated for hunter education. States received wildlife restoration apportionments totaling $162.5 million last year. The decline in funding is due partially to lower excise tax receipts for arms and ammunition sales and because the Service did not receive all of these funds before fiscal year-end deadlines.

The formula for distributing sport fish restoration funds to 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 each state's population.

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 more than 94 million acres of land and water consisting of 512 national wildlife refuges, 65 national fish hatcheries, 38 wetland management districts with waterfowl production areas, and 50 wildlife coordination areas.

The agency also enforces Federal wildlife laws, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat, such as wetlands, administers the Endangered Species Act, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts.  

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