Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Sen. Carper, Sen. Coons join with DNREC to celebrate 75 years
of federal aid partnership for fish and wildlife conservation in Delaware
KITTS HUMMOCK (Sept. 21, 2012) – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons today joined DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara, the staff of the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife and conservation partners and supporters at the Ted Harvey Conservation Area near Dover to mark the 75th anniversary of Delaware’s conservation funding partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program, and to kick off Delaware’s celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day on Sept. 22.
In September 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, creating a partnership between state wildlife agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the sporting arms industry, conservation groups and sportsmen and women that continues to fund wildlife conservation and restoration efforts today. In 1950, the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act was signed into law, setting up a similar user pay-public benefit system for fisheries restoration and management by partnering with anglers and the fishing and boating industries.
Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration has become one of America’s great conservation success stories. When hunters, anglers and other outdoorsmen and women purchase sporting arms and ammunition, fishing equipment, and motor boat fuels, they pay an excise tax that goes into the program to fund 75 cents of every $1 spent on core conservation, restoration, outdoor recreation and related education programs. The states in turn provide the remaining 25 cents matching funds or in-kind matches of volunteer hours or materials. Delaware’s matching funds come from sales of hunting and fishing licenses and Duck and Trout stamps.
“As outdoor recreation continues to grow as a part of our economy, our refuges offer Americans and Delawareans their own places to hunt, fish, hike and share the outdoors with their families and children,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). “Through programs like the Delaware Bayshore Initiative that promote conservation and ecosystem restoration along the Delaware Bay, and public-private partnerships, we can ensure these places stay available for generations to come. I am proud of our tradition of conservation and I look forward to 75 more years of partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife.”
“This anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate a unique partnership between federal and state agencies, and our hunters and fishermen," said U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.). "This program is a true conservation success story, one based upon the dedication, commitment, and passion of America’s sportsmen and women. I am proud to join so many of my fellow Delawareans in celebrating our accomplishments and reaffirming our commitment to our hunting, fishing, and conservation heritage."
Over the last 75 years, the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program has channeled more than $12 billion to state fish and wildlife agencies nationwide for fisheries and wildlife restoration and management; hunter, angler and boater access; and hunter and boater safety education. Millions of those dollars have come to Delaware to fund research into native wildlife and fish, construct waterfowl impoundments, build boat ramps and other recreational facilities, purchase needed equipment, teach children to fish and educate the public about the importance of conserving our natural resources. Since 2000 alone, Delaware has received nearly $60 million in funding.
“Without the support of our longstanding federal partnership and the hunters, anglers and other conservationists who contribute to the federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program, many success stories in Delaware fish and wildlife conservation and restoration would be impossible to achieve,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “Today, we thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and all of our conservation partners for their continuing support. As we look to the future with dynamic projects such as the Delaware Bayshore Initiative, we will leverage this funding in new and creative ways.”
Secretary O'Mara also read a proclamation from the Governor's Office in recognition of the anniversary and declaring Sept. 22 National Hunting and Fishing Day in Delaware. A copy of the proclamation, which was signed by Governor Jack Markell and Lt. Governor Matt Denn, can be viewed by clicking here: Governors Proclamation .
Last year, Delaware received nearly $1.5 million in federal wildlife restoration funding and nearly $3.5 million in federal sport fish restoration funding, and matched those funds with more than $1.6 million in revenue from the sale of Delaware hunting and fishing licenses and Duck and Trout Stamps, plus in-kind match consisting of volunteer hours and donated materials. Current programs supported by the funding include: hunter education; wildlife and habitat management; research and surveys on the white-tailed deer, Canada goose, wild turkey and waterfowl; aquatic resource education; trout stocking; artificial reef program; boating access area construction and maintenance; and a variety of fisheries management and research programs.
“Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funding is critical to maintaining the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife’s research, operations, restoration, conservation and development projects, providing more than half of the budget resources for all the Division’s programs,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director David Saveikis. “This funding helps the Division provide the public with quality hunting and fishing opportunities and access. We look forward to continuing our successful partnership to provide enhanced fish and wildlife conservation and restoration and public access to and enjoyment of our fish and wildlife and public land resources.”
Vol. 42, No. 364
Since the late 1930s, Delaware has received matching funds for fish and wildlife conservation projects from the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This pioneering program today serves as a model for cost-effective fish and wildlife conservation and fishing and hunting access funded by those who directly benefit from the resource – the anglers and hunters. Their contributions through this “user pay, public benefit” conservation funding model benefit all Delawareans. In 2012, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are celebrating the 75th anniversary of this longstanding and very productive state and federal partnership.
National Hunting and Fishing Day was established as an annual event on the fourth Saturday of September by joint resolution of Congress and signed by then-President Nixon in 1972 to recognize American hunters and anglers for their longtime role in promoting conservation of fish and wildlife. Going back a century, sportsmen conservationists led by President Theodore Roosevelt had called for the first laws restricting wildlife harvest. They urged scientific wildlife management and sustainable use of fish and game, created hunting and fishing licenses and lobbied for taxes on sporting equipment to provide funds for state conservation agencies, forming the foundation for today’s state and federal fish and wildlife agencies. Today, National Hunting and Fishing Day is celebrated nationwide to promote participation in outdoor sports and conservation. For more information, visit www.nhfday.org.
Today’s event also promotes two of DNREC’s key initiatives:
The Delaware Bayshore Initiative is a landscape approach to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat, increase volunteer participation in habitat stewardship projects, enhance low-impact outdoor recreation and ecotourism opportunities, and promote associated environmentally compatible economic development along the Delaware River and Bay in the central part of the state.
Delaware’s Children in Nature Initiative, a statewide effort to improve environmental literacy in Delaware, create opportunities for children to participate in enriching outdoor experiences, combat childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles. Delaware’s multi-agency initiative, which partners state and federal agencies with community organizations, is part of the national No Child Left Inside program.