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Wildlife Restoration and Sport Fish Restoration Programs and Pollinators


State fish and wildlife agencies cannot use Wildlife Restoration (WR - Pittman-Robertson) and Sport Fish Restoration (SFR - Dingell-Johnson) funds for the direct conservation of invertebrates or any species other than those allowed under 50 CFR 80:

Sport fish means aquatic, gill breathing, vertebrate animals with paired fins, having material value for recreation in the marine and fresh waters of the United States.

Wildlife means the indigenous or naturalized species of birds or mammals that are either:

  1. Wild and free-ranging;
  2. Held in a captive breeding program established to reintroduce individuals of a depleted indigenous species into previously occupied range; or
  3. Under the jurisdiction of a State fish and wildlife agency.

Eligible Actions:

However, when States are taking eligible actions under the WR or SFR programs, they may consider pollinator conservation as a secondary benefit. The project must:

  1. Meet all the criteria of 50 CFR 80;
  2. Primarily benefit the target species/habitat or the primary purpose of the project; and
  3. Not substantially reduce the target benefits the project.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) Regional Offices are assisting States to incorporate pollinator conservation appropriately into WR and SFR projects while keeping the primary focus on the sport fish and wildlife species that the grant programs are intended to benefit.

Some questions that States may ask when implementing WR or SFR projects are:

  1. Could habitat conservation projects include locally native plant species (such as milkweed) that not only benefit the WR target species, but pollinator species as well?
  2. Does our Integrated Pest Management Plan and Invasive Plant Management Plan account for the effects on pollinators? Are we adequately addressing pest problems while reducing impacts on non-target species and eliminating the routine use of neonicotinoid pesticides?
  3. Does the timing of activities at wildlife management areas consider life cycles of local pollinators? Can the same benefits be achieved for the target species if we incorporate these considerations?
  4. Do our best management practices for activities such as controlled burns, mowing schedules, agricultural practices, and other human interventions be adjusted to be more pollinator-friendly?
  5. Are recreational access areas designed to reduce the effects of human activity in areas vital to pollinator conservation?