South Florida Ecological Services Field Office
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Florida’s Hunters, Anglers, Boaters are Underwriting and Supporting Wildlife Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Projects; Generated $26 Million for 2017


Contacts:
USFWS Ken Warren, (772) 469-4323

June 7, 2017

VERO BEACH, Fla. – Florida hunters have harvested game such as white-tailed deer, ducks, wild hogs and turkeys at state-managed wildlife management areas (WMAs) for decades, while their purchases of hunting equipment also generate funds that pay for the conservation and management of these important areas.

This self-supporting funding process is a key element of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFRP), which consists of the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Funds. This annual influx of millions of dollars--derived from excise taxes paid by manufacturers of firearms, bows and ammunition and sport fishing tackle, some boat engines and small engine fuel--directly benefits Florida’s outdoor enthusiasts.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) distributes these dollars to state fish and wildlife agencies such as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

“This year’s allocation to the FWC is $26 million. A big portion is going toward Florida’s WMAs, which offer a wide range of recreation opportunities, and conserve habitat for hundreds species of fish and wildlife,” said Larry Williams, the Service’s Florida State Supervisor for Ecological Services.

WSFRP funds and other matching monies help provide for habitat enhancements at WMAs such as:

  • Prescribed burning an average of 110,000 acres;
  • Restoring almost one million acres of hydrology;
  • Controlling invasive exotic plants (over 70,000 acres last year);
  • Maintaining and enhancing over 1,500 miles of access roads; and
  • Developing and maintaining over 7,000 acres of wildlife food plots and openings;

Last year, conservative estimates calculated WMA visitation at over 2.5 million users, which includes hunters, anglers and wildlife viewers. Based on the visitation calculations we estimate an economic impact of over $156 million dollars in retail sales alone and the creation of over 2,700 jobs.

In addition to what’s going on for hunters at the WMAs, anglers are catching trophy-sized largemouth bass at Lake Trafford in southwest Florida nowadays thanks in part to habitat improvements and restocking efforts made possible by WSFRP funding, as well.

“The WSFRP has been going on for decades and is a great way to give back to those in the outdoor community, which has a vested interest in conserving wild lands here in Florida and across America,” Williams said. “Conservation and outdoor activities go hand-in-hand. Preserved natural landscapes support hunting and fishing, and support all kinds of wildlife here from panthers to wood storks.”

FWC is also using WSFRP funds to build new public shooting ranges at Triple N Ranch Wildlife Management Area near Orlando and at the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area in Palm Beach County. FWC-managed ranges offer a safe, welcoming and family friendly environment for target shooters and hunters and include classroom facilities to support the needs of hunter safety students. Increases in ammunition sales have brought an increase in WSFRP funding.

"Strong and enduring partnerships are essential to our success, and there is no better example than the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program,” said Nick Wiley, Executive Director of the FWC. “We are honored to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the Service to be the best possible stewards of these funds."

Diane Eggeman, hunting and game management division director for the FWC said, “In addition to conservation projects, these funds are critical for supporting hunter education, developing and managing shooting ranges, and providing public use and access to our wildlife resources.”

Williams added, “The conservation and outdoor recreation communities share lots of common ground. The Service and our partners at FWC are very much interested in working with hunters, anglers and other outdoorsmen and women to keep Florida the great land of biodiversity and outdoor opportunity that it is for all to experience and enjoy now and into the future.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov, or connect with us through any of these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube.

 

Last updated: June 28, 2018