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E-M:/ Wildlife Diversity Funding Initiative

Enviro-Mich message from mec@sojourn.com (Michigan Environmental Council)


Michigan, along with the other 49 states, has the opportunity to obtain
funds for enhanced protection of nongame fish and wildlife and their
habitat. Funding will also be used for improving outdoor recreation and
conservation education programs. This will be possible with the enactment
of the Wildlife Diversity Funding Initiative (WDFI).  With your help and
support, WDFI may become a reality by the end of 1997.

WDFI is modeled after successful programs created by Wildlife and Sport
Fish Restoration Acts.  The concept is user pay/ user benefit.  User pay
means that the consumer will  pay a small user fee in the form of an excise
tax on outdoor equipment.  User benefit is the idea that these outdoor
enthusiasts help conserve nongame species while adding to the enjoyment of
the great outdoors.

User fees would only be .25% to 5% of the manufacturer's cost for these
outdoor equipment items:

                *       Outdoor recreation equipment such as backpacks and
                *       Optical equipment such as binoculars and spotting
                *       Photographic equipment such as cameras and film;
                *       Backyard wildlife supplies such as bird seed and
bird houses;
                *       Recreation vehicles and sport utility vehicles; and
                *       Guidebooks such as field identification books.

If adopted, the initiative could raise $100-$300 million nationally each
year.  Michigan can expect a matching grant to bring revenues of $4-$12
million dollars annually.  Our nongame income tax checkoff provides a
potential source of matching funds; the checkoff raised $600,000 in 1995.

As members of Michigan's environmental community, your role in pushing for
this legislation is essential.  Please write Michigan's Congressional
delegation to encourage them to cosponsor  WDFI.  Talk to local and
national outdoor equipment manufacturers and retailers about the benefits
of the initiative and action they can take.  And, if not already, write a
letter of support to Teaming with Wildlife to add your organization to the
WDFI endorsement list.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

Ray Rustem
Joy Strawser
Michigan Department of Natural Resources                     Michigan
Environmental Council
P.O. Box 30180
119 Pere Marquette Dr. Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48909
Lansing, MI  48912
(517) 373-1263
E-mail: mec@sojourn.com
E-mail: rustemr@wildlife.dnr.state.mi.us

Teaming with Wildlife
444 North Capitol St., NW, Suite 544
Washington, DC  20001
(202) 624-7890

Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette Dr., Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48912
(517) 487-9539* FAX: (517) 487-9541

ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.

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