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60th Anniversary of Federal Aid (fwd)



---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 97 09:46:11 MST
From: RICH_GREENWOOD@mail.fws.gov


      U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE MARKS 60th ANNIVERSARY
         OF FEDERAL AID IN WILDLIFE RESTORATION PROGRAM

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service marked the 60th anniversary of
the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration program at a reception
today in Washington, DC, with Acting Director John Rogers
presenting a symbolic $3.2 billion check representing the total
amount of money that has been distributed to state wildlife
agencies under the program.

Thirty-seven states have received more than $50 million and five
states more than $100 million each for wildlife conservation and
recreation projects since the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration
Act, commonly called Pittman-Robertson, was enacted in 1937.  The
act, passed by Congress at the urging of the Nation's hunting
community, placed a Federal excise tax on firearms and ammunition
to be used to fund state wildlife conservation projects.

"Pittman-Robertson has arguably been the most successful wildlife
conservation program in history," Rogers said as he presented the
check to Duane Shroufe, director of the Arizona Game and Fish
Department and president of the International Association of Fish
and Wildlife Agencies.

"At the time it was passed, wildlife in America was in deep
decline because of loss of habitat and the long Dust Bowl drought
of the 1930s," Rogers noted.  "Since then, the program's grants
have been largely responsible for the recovery of white-tailed
deer, pronghorn antelope, wood ducks, wild turkeys, and many
other species.  The Pittman-Robertson program truly has been a
model for partnership between the Federal government and the
states for conservation of wildlife."

In 1997 alone, states will share more than $165 million
distributed through the program.  The amount each state receives
is determined by a formula that considers land area and the
number of hunting license holders in each state.  Part of the
total is set aside for hunter education programs and distributed
according to the relative population of each state.

Since the program's inception, Texas has received the largest
amount ($152.1 million) followed by Alaska ($135.2 million),
Pennsylvania ($131.3 million), California ($125.7 million), and
Michigan ($123.6 million).

The funds are derived from an 11-percent excise tax on sporting
arms and ammunition, a 10-percent tax on pistols and revolvers,
and an 11-percent tax on certain archery equipment.  One-half of
the tax on handguns and archery equipment is for state hunter
education programs.

Projects include acquisition and improvement of wildlife habitat,
introduction of wildlife into suitable habitat, research on
wildlife problems, surveys and inventories of wildlife,
development of wildlife-related recreational facilities, and
hunter education programs, including construction and operation
of public shooting ranges.  The Pittman-Robertson program pays
for up to 75 percent of the cost of the projects while states
contribute at least 25 percent.

Based on the Pittman-Robertson model, Congress passed the Federal
Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act in 1950, now known as Dingell-
Johnson, that applies an excise tax on fishing tackle, electric
trolling motors, and sonar fish finders.  These funds support
state acquisition and improvement of sport fish habitat; fish
stocking; research into fishery resource problems; surveys and
inventories of sport fish populations; and development of boat
ramps, fishing piers, and other recreational facilities.

A chart showing the amount each state has received in
the past 60 years in Pittman-Robertson grants is available from
the Office of Media Services (202) 208-5634.

March 17, 1997                         Hugh Vickery  202-208-5634



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