When: Friday, February 11, 2022
WASHINGTON – The United States Fish and Wildlife Service today announced record annual funding of $1.5 billion through the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration (WSFR) program to support recreational opportunities for state and local outdoors, as well as wildlife and habitat conservation efforts. The WSFR program contains two sources of funding: the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which was reauthorized under the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, and the Wildlife Restoration Program.
“Hunters, anglers and sportsmen have some of the deepest connections with nature. For 85 years, this program has been the foundation of wildlife and habitat conservation and outdoor recreation across the country,” said Assistant Secretary Tommy Beaudreau, who will highlight historic disbursements in remarks at the Mule Deer Foundation’s inaugural summit today. “Together with the historic investments of President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the opportunities presented by the Great American Outdoors Act, these grants will make significant progress in our work to protect our precious wildlife treasures.”
The WSFR program, also known as the Pittman-Robertson Dingell-Johnson/Wallop-Breaux program, distributes excise taxes on hunting, shooting and fishing equipment, as well as boat fuel, in the 50 US states and territories. The core value of all WSFR programs is to foster cooperative partnerships among federal and state agencies, working alongside hunters, anglers, and other outdoor interests, to enhance recreational opportunities while advancing sustainable resource goals.
These goals are in line with President Biden’s will america the beautiful initiative to support locally-led efforts to conserve and restore our country’s lands, waters and wildlife. The initiative’s inclusive approach recognizes that hunters, fishers, private landowners, pastoralists, farmers, tribes, traditional land users and everyone else have a role to play in conservation to conserve American lands and waters for future generations.
The Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund is funded in part by the federal excise tax on fishing tackle and is the backbone of state-level fish conservation, benefiting all US states and territories. The Wildlife Restoration Program, funded by the federal excise tax on firearms, ammunition, and archery sales, provides grant funds to state fish and wildlife agencies and island areas for projects to restore, conserve, manage and improve wild birds and mammals and their habitats. . Projects include public use and access to wildlife resources, hunter education, and range development and management.
“Many Americans are unaware of the remarkable conservation impact of the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program,” saidFish and Wildlife Service Senior Deputy Director Martha Williams. “National wildlife agencies dedicate WSFR funds to a variety of conservation projects and programs such as hunting and fishing education, fish and wildlife management, scientific research, restoration and habitat protection, acquisition of land and water rights, and access to hunting and boating. Everyone benefits from these investments, which have ensured a legacy of wildlife and outdoor opportunities for all.
Congress authorizes WSFR disbursements through the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act and the Dingell-Johnson/Wallop-Breaux Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act. To date, the Service has distributed more than $25.5 billion in allocations for state conservation and recreation projects. Wildlife agencies in recipient states have doubled those funds to about $8.5 billion over the years, mostly from revenue from hunting and fishing licenses.
Eligible states receive funds from the WSFR through a formula-based standing appropriation. Distribution formulas are based primarily on land and water area and the number of paid hunting and recreational fishing license holders in each state. State fish and wildlife agencies make their own management decisions about how the funds are used. WSFR dollars typically fund up to 75% of project costs. Most states must provide an equivalent share of up to 25%, usually from state hunting and fishing license revenue.
The State-by-State listing of the Service’s final distribution of Game Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program funds for fiscal year 2022 is available on the WSFR webpage.
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