Fish and Wildlife Service to support conservation, recreation in California

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a press release on March 7 announcing California will receive about $41 million in funding from the federal agency to support the state’s environmental conservation and recreation projects. Neighboring Nevada will receive $17.5 million from the Fish and Wildlife Service for the same purpose.

In all the Fish and Wildlife Service will distribute more than $1 billion to states this year.

“State wildlife agencies play an essential role in the conservation of America’s wildlife, while also generating billions of dollars for the nation’s economy through increased hunting and fishing opportunities. It’s fitting that those very sporting activities help sustain wildlife, their habitats and the agencies that manage them,” Dan Ashe, director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, said. “Our role in administering these funds reflects our long-standing partnership with the states across a broad spectrum of wildlife conservation issues.”

Funding is derived from excise taxes paid by the hunting, boating and angling industries on firearms, bows and ammunition (Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act), and sportfishing tackle, some boat engines and small engine fuel (Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act).  

Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Act funds are administered by the Service’s WSFR program. To date the program has distributed more than $18 billion for state conservation and recreation projects. The recipient state fish and wildlife agencies have matched these funds with more than $5 billion over the years, primarily through hunting and fishing license revenues.

In the Service’s last federal survey of hunting, fishing and wildlife-associated recreation in 2011, California residents spent more than $8.3 billion on hunting, fishing and observing wildlife in California. Nevadans spent approximately $1.2 billion on these activities. Survey results for California, Nevada and other states are available from the 2011 National Survey of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife.

“We are proud to support our state wildlife conservation agencies,” said Hannibal Bolton, Assistant Director of the Service’s WSFR program. “Funding from the Pittman Robertson-Dingell-Johnson program will help states protect and conserve our nation’s environmental legacy for generations to come.”  

Current Pittman-Robertson Dingell-Johnson funded projects in California and Nevada include an elk and antelope monitoring project, maintenance at local wildlife management areas in Nevada, and restoration efforts of California salmon.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will use funds to continue three multi-year elk and antelope monitoring projects throughout California using various aerial, ground, DNA and tooth age analysis methods. They will also be starting a new multi-year project to study pronghorn antelope in the Carrizo Plain region using GPS/satellite collars.  Data and analysis from these projects help CDFW determine appropriate recommendations each year for hunting regulations.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) will continue to use funds for maintenance and management of their 11 wildlife management areas throughout Nevada.  Funds are also expected to be used to help purchase water rights for Overton WMA, plus enhance various shooting ranges and continue to support their Hunter Education program.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will continue to fund activities to improve population numbers of federally threatened salmonid and warm water sport fish for the benefit of anglers by maintaining, improving, restoring and enhancing spawning and rearing habitat for the targeted species. Activities include maintaining migration passage structures at 22 sites in streams supporting adult and juvenile steelhead and improving habitat in 4 reservoirs in central California by providing spawning habitat and brush cover for adult and juvenile catfish species.

Click here for the state-by-state listing of the Service’s final apportionment of Wildlife Restoration Funds and Sport Fish Restoration funds for Fiscal Year 2016.

For more information about the WSFR program visit http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/.

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