Sportsmen and Women Generate Almost $1 Billion in Annual Conservation Funding
Earlier today, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced the disbursement of nearly $1 billion dollars to state fish and wildlife agencies to aid in their conservation efforts. The funds, generated through excise taxes on hunting, shooting, and fishing equipment as well as boat fuel and distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) are a crucial component of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.
Hunters and anglers remain the primary drivers of conservation funding in America. To date, more than $22.9 billion dollars has been distributed by the FWS for state-based conservation and recreation projects thanks to the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program. The recipients of these funds, state wildlife agencies, have matched these funds to the tune of roughly $7.6 billion throughout the years, with the bulk of that funding coming from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. That means that sportsmen and women have generated over $30 billion for fish and wildlife conservation efforts in recent decades.
“Our conservation model is funded and supported by America’s hunters, shooters, anglers, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts. These stewards of conservation generated nearly a billion dollars last year alone and make our country's conservation legacy the envy of the world,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.
“When people pay taxes and fees, they want to know that their money is going to good use,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior Katharine MacGregor. “These grants are a great example of fees paid by sportsmen and women being reinvested in opportunities for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation opportunities. We are proud to work with the states and appreciate their efforts to keep public lands open for dispersed recreation where appropriate for those who need to get outside.”
“These grants are the epitome of the great things that can happen when industry, hunters and anglers, and state and federal governments work together,” said Service Director Aurelia Skipwith. “As the administrator of these grants, the Fish and Wildlife Service is the linchpin in the circle of funding that arcs from the hunters and anglers generating these dollars as consumers, through the states as conservation managers, and back to hunters, anglers, and recreational users as beneficiaries, for improved hunting, fishing and conservation opportunities. It is a role we are honored to play.”
“American Sportsmen are the engine of conservation. Not only do they enjoy our public lands, but they pay to maintain and improve them and the wildlife populations inhabiting them,” said SCI’s Director of Government Affairs Ben Cassidy.
SCI will continue to advocate for the freedom to hunt and celebrate the important role that hunting has played in wildlife conservation throughout history.