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Anglers, Hunters & Boaters Give States A $434 Million Boost For Conservation & Recreation
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March 27, 2000 Mitch Snow 202-208-5634

America's State Fish and Wildlife agencies will receive a total of more than $434 million for conservation programs from excise taxes paid by hunters, anglers, shooters and boaters in one of the Nation's most successful ongoing conservation efforts. Revenues from these taxes go directly to States for their Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration programs, which involve everything from wildlife management to hunter education to boat ramp construction to fisheries research.

The funds are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Hunters and anglers are the heart of conservation," said Service Director Jamie Rappaport Clark. "For more than 60 years, hunters, anglers and boaters, along with the hunting, fishing and boating industries, have worked with Federal and State governments to provide the funding for many of our Nation's most significant conservation achievements.

This coalition has been the key to providing Americans with wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities for generations." Under the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program, also known as the Dingell-Johnson/Wallop-Breaux acts for the members of Congress who introduced legislation for these laws, States will receive $240,938,312. Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration funding comes from a 10 percent excise tax on fishing equipment, a 3 percent tax on electric trolling motors and sonar fish finders, taxes on motorboat fuels, and import duties on fishing tackle and pleasure boats.

States can use these funds to stock fish; acquire and improve sport fish habitat; provide aquatic resource education opportunities; conduct fisheries research, including surveys and inventories of sport fish populations; develop boat ramps, fishing piers, and other recreational facilities that directly support sport fishing; and engage in other related activities. Final funding to the States from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson Act for the members of Congress who introduced the legislation in 1937, totals $193,168,232. Funds from this amount allocated specifically for hunter education total $29,201,362. The formula for distributing sport fish restoration funds to States is based on the land and water area and the number of fishing license holders in each State.

Wildlife restoration funds are made available based on land area and the number of hunting license holders in each State. Distribution of hunter education funds is based on each State's population. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

The Service manages the 93 million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 520 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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