State Fish And Wildlife Agencies To Share More Than $478 Million
State fish and wildlife agencies will share more than $478 million in excise taxes paid by America’s hunters, anglers and boaters, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Steve Williams said today.
The agencies will use the money for fish and wildlife conservation by acquiring land, improving habitat, and conducting research, education, and other programs.
The funds will also help pay for hunter safety and aquatic education and fish and wildlife-related recreation projects.
The funds are apportioned under two Federal Aid programs administered by the Interior Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The wildlife restoration apportionment for 2003 totals $213 million, with $39 million apportioned for hunter education. The apportionment for sport fish restoration for 2003 totals more than $265 million.
The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson Act), enacted in 1937, and the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (Dingell-Johnson Act), enacted in 1950, collectively have raised more than $8.5 billion.
Wildlife Restoration Program funds are made available based on land area (plus inland waters such as lakes and large rivers) and the number of hunting license holders in each state.
Distribution of hunter education funds is based on the relative population of each state. The Service distributes sport fish restoration funds to the states based on the land and water area (land plus inland water, the Great Lakes and marine coastal areas) and the number of fishing license holders in each state.
Federal Aid funds pay for up to 75 percent of the cost of each project while the states contribute at least 25 percent.
The Wildlife Restoration Program money is derived from an 11 percent excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition, a 10 percent tax on pistols and revolvers, and an 11 percent tax on certain archery equipment.
Half of the tax on handguns and archery equipment is made available for state hunter education and safety programs.
States use Wildlife Restoration Program funds to manage wildlife populations, habitat, research, surveys and inventories and to fund hunter education.
The Sport Fish Restoration funding results from a 10 percent excise tax on fishing equipment and a 3 percent tax on electric trolling motors and sonar fish finders.
The Wallop-Breaux legislation of 1984 increased the tax base for sport fish restoration to include a portion of the federal fuels tax and import duties on fishing tackle and pleasure boats.
States use Sport Fish Restoration Program funds to stock fish; acquire and improve sport fish habitat; provide aquatic resource education opportunities; conduct fisheries research; and build boat ramps, fishing piers, and other facilities necessary to provide recreational boating access.