WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Interior on Tuesday announced $15,508,402 in funding to North Dakota and $35,900,740 to Minnesota to support critical state conservation and outdoor recreation projects. The announcement was part of $1.1 billion in annual national funding for state wildlife agencies from revenues generated by the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration acts.
U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke announced the funding in Horicon, Wis., where he visited the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area. To date, more than $20.2 billion in funds, which are authorized by Congress, have been distributed to U.S. states and territories.
North Dakota apportionments include $4,130,618 in Sport Fish Restoration funds and $11,377,784 in Wildlife Restoration funds. Minnesota will receive $12,500,370 in Sport Fish Restoration Funds and $23,400,370 in Wildlife Restoration funds.
“For nearly 80 years, states have been able to fund important conservation initiatives thanks to the more than $20 billion that has generated nationwide,” Zinke said in a statement. “Every time a firearm, fishing pole, hook, bullet, motor boat or boat fuel is sold, part of that cost goes to fund conservation. The best way to increase funding for conservation and sportsmen access is to increase the number of hunters and anglers in our woods and waters. The American conservation model has been replicated all over the world because it works.”
The funds, which are distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are derived from excise taxes paid by the hunting, shooting, boating and angling industries on firearms, bows and ammunition and sport fishing tackle, some boat engines and small engine fuel.
Nationwide, the recipient state wildlife agencies have matched these funds with approximately $6.7 billion throughout the years, primarily through hunting and fishing license revenues.
“This funding mechanism serves as the foundation for fish and wildlife conservation in our country,” Virgil Moore, president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and director of Idaho Fish and Game, said in a statement.