Last week, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced the distribution of more than $1 billion to state fish and wildlife agencies through the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program. The money was generated by revenue from hunting and fishing licenses, excise taxes on guns/ammunition and other gear, and motorboat fuel. This apportionment of funding increased by $121 million compared to the year prior as both firearms sales and hunting participation soared in the midst of the pandemic.
This funding process is a critical component of the American System of Conservation Funding, which is the world’s foremost system of financing sustainable wildlife conservation. Since 1939 this system has generated almost $60 billion in financial support for America’s wild places and wild things. Funding is oftentimes matched by private and philanthropic matches in order to leverage the collective power of a broad array of stakeholders.
“The annual disbursement of these funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a yearly celebration of the remarkable system of conservation we have in place in this country. The commitment our federal and state governments have made to science-based wildlife management and the continued financial support from the outdoor industry makes me proud to be an American,” said SCI Government Affairs Director Ben Cassidy. “SCI is eager to put our advocacy and conservation teams to work now as they collaborate with state agencies, local chapters, and other partners to maximize the effectiveness of these funds in order to protect the freedom to hunt and promote wildlife conservation.”