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E-M:/ DNR Unveils Proposed Reductions to Address Projected Deficit in Game and Fish Fund

Enviro-Mich message from "Richard Morscheck" <morscher@michigan.gov>

Contacts: Sharon Schafer 517-335-3276, Mary Dettloff 517-335-3014

DNR Unveils Proposed Reductions
to Address Projected Deficit in Game and Fish Fund

Facing a projected $8.1 million deficit into Fiscal Year 2007 in its general purpose Game and Fish Fund, Department of Natural Resources officials today announced a proposed spending reduction plan to address the shortfall and to continue to develop a plan for a long-term funding solution for the fund and other areas that lack sufficient funding.
"Revenues in the Game and Fish Fund are projected to be stagnant while expenditures continue to grow due to inflation," said Frank Wheatlake, chair of the Natural Resources Commission Policy Committee on Finance and Administration "To address this deficit, we have identified reductions throughout the department, and we will continue with our core mission of protecting, managing and conserving Michigan's natural resources."

The general purpose Game and Fish Fund is primarily supported by revenue generated from hunting and fishing license sales. The fund is in deficit due to stagnant revenues brought about by flat license sales.
DNR Director Rebecca Humphries said the reductions will not affect full-time, permanent DNR employees, but will mean reductions in seasonal and short-term employees. Some of the reductions include:

* Reducing deer head collection and disease testing - $1 million;

* Reducing seasonal and short-term workers who perform habitat and maintenance activities in game areas - $430,000;

* Delaying fisheries equipment purchases, such as nets, materials for building nets, data recording devices and replacement parts for outboard motors - $400,000;

* Delaying the placement of large woody debris in the Au Sable River to restore river habitat - $400,000;

* Delaying Great Lakes assessments - $247,400;

* Reducing inventory and assessment surveys of inland lakes and streams - $257,400;

* Reducing major maintenance projects at fish hatchery interpretative facilities - $300,000;

* Eliminating inland fishery grants programs for two years - $400,000;

* Reducing inland creel survey staff from 40 to 38 - $200,000;

* Reducing Coho stocking in Lake Michigan - $300,000;

"While the department has taken steps to protect funding for our core-mission programs, these reductions will not impact our ability to manage natural resources in Michigan," Humphries said. "We will continue to work with hunters and anglers to seek a long-term funding solution, and work for wise management of natural resources in Michigan."

The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.


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