The nation's most successful wildlife restoration program was established in 1937 by the Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson Act). The Act funds wildlife research, species reintroduction, habitat acquisition, management and restoration, and hunter education and safety. The federal Wildlife Restoration grant program has granted more than $4 billion to state fish and wildlife agencies during the past 75 years.
|Photo credit: TPWD
In the early 1930s, populations of white-tailed deer, pronghorn antelope, black
bear, turkey and wood duck dropped to record low levels from which they could
not recover on their own. Thanks to state fish and game managers and activities
funded by the Wildlife Restoration Act, these species are now abundant. Other
game and non-game species also benefit from the Act, including waterfowl, shore
birds, quail, dove, pheasant, elk, deer and bighorn sheep.
Today 12.5 million hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts enjoy America's outdoor heritage while contributing more than $66 billion annually to the nation's economy. Federal excise taxes on their purchases of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment generate $322 million annually for the Wildlife Restoration Program. Who benefits? Hunters, sportsmen and sportswomen, and an estimated 71.1 million wildlife watchers who observe, photograph and feed a rich diversity of wildlife species -- the direct recipients of more than seven decades of wildlife conservation efforts.
The Act authorizes an 11 percent federal excise tax on sporting arms, ammunition and archery equipment, and a 10 percent tax on handguns. Each time a hunter purchases one of these items, the retail price includes the federal excise tax. These funds are made available throught grants to State Wildlife agencies for a variety of activites like research, habitat management, species restoration, population surveys, technical guidance, land acquisition and hunter education. The grant money is apportioned to the states based on a formula. States are required to provide at least a 25 percent share of the project cost from non-federal funds. As a result, hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts directly fund wildlife management and restoration - making this one of the first and most successful "user-pay / user-benefit" programs. More than $20 million is annually made available to state fish and wildlife agencies in the Southwest Region. More on funding.
|The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish used funding to enhance their hunter education program and obtained two mobile pellet shooting trailers. Photo credit: NMDG&F.
Projects Using Wildlife Restoration Funding
There are many projects in the Southwest Region using Wildlife Restoration Funding. Examples include projects recovery of desert bighorn sheep in Texas, habitat conservation work in Oklahoma and a number of hunter education efforts taking place in New Mexico.
Read more about these projects
|Photo credit: USFWS
To achieve state goals, the Wildlife Restoration Program funds research, habitat management, species restoration, population surveys, technical guidance, land acquisition and hunter education.
Federal funds are also used to acquire and manage habitats for species with the greatest conservation needs. See State Wildlife and Endangered Species grants.
Wildlife habitats managed with Wildlife Restoration funds vary greatly and include desert mountains, grassland prairies and riparian wetlands. Tour some of these areas and discover how computers and other new technologies are being used in wildlife research and surveys.
National Average Annual
Wildlife Restoration Funding: $3 million
No. of Hunters 16 years and older: 12.5 million
No. of Days Spent Hunting: 220 million
Economic Impact: $66 million
No. of Wildlife Watchers: 71.1 million
Economic Impacts: $45.7 billion
Contact the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.