Where does conservation funding come from?

As an ally of conservation, it’s important to know where funding originates, how it’s allocated and spent, and reasons for proposed changes.
In Ohio, the Division of Wildlife is our most reliable source of wildlife and fisheries information and management, and the authority which promulgates regulations.
Ninety percent of the division’s funding comes from licenses, permits and federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment.
Federal wildlife restoration funding comes from the Pittman-Robertson Act, established in 1937. It levies an 11 percent tax on sporting arms, handguns, ammunition, bows and arrows.
The tax has provided over $190 million to Ohio for wildlife conservation.
Federal funding has doubled since 2012, primarily from the sale of firearms and ammunition.
Funds are apportioned based on the total area of the state and the total number of paid license holders. The number of free licenses don’t count.
The program requires legislation which prevents license revenue from being used for anything other than the state’s fish and wildlife agency.
States pay all eligible project costs upfront and are reimbursed up to 75 percent.
If a state doesn’t have the matching funds required to capture federal aid dollars, the funds become unavailable.
To help obtain more of that federal money, an opportunity exists to increase non-resident participation by raising those license and permit costs while keeping the impact to resident sportsmen at a minimum.
Hunting and fishing license sales have shown a slow but steady decline for several decades.
Ohio sells almost 38,000 hunting licenses and 41,000 deer permits to non-residents, and is a top 10 destination state for deer hunting.
Resident deer hunters have voiced a concern that Ohio is an undervalued state when it comes to charging non-residents to hunt trophy whitetails.
A proposed increase for non-resident hunting licenses and a deer tag from $149 to $250 is below the average non-resident cost, $350, of other high-quality deer hunting states.
Revenue from the increase is estimated to be $3 million-$3.5 million annually.
Ohio hasn’t increased hunting and fishing license fees since 2004.
Along the Way:
The Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program helps fund preservation of open spaces, sensitive ecological areas and stream corridors. Special emphasis is given to projects that:
• Protect habitat for rare, threatened or endangered species.
• Preserve wetlands.
• Preserve streamside forests, natural stream channels and floodplains.
• Easements protecting stream corridors, which may be planted with trees or vegetation to help reduce erosion and fertilizer and pesticide runoff.
• Enhance economic development.
• Provide pedestrian or bicycle passageways.
• Provide safe areas for fishing, hunting and trapping.
There’s $1.8 million available for Blanchard River watershed projects that could benefit from these conservation and flood-reducing efforts.
Tim Brugeman, well known for his efforts as director of the Hancock Park District, continues his conservation work as the Hancock County liaison representing the Blanchard River Watershed Partnership. Contact Tim at 419-672-8897 to help take advantage of this valuable program.
These grants give conservation and community leaders an opportunity to make ecological and economical improvements to our communities. Projects must have a land acquisition or preservation component.
Visit http://development.ohio.gov/cleanohio/GreenSpaceConservation for details.
Step Outside:
• Today: Swap meet, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., HCCL, 13748 Jackson Township 168, Findlay. Free.
• Tomorrow: Pope and Young Archery Shoot, 8 a.m., Field and Stream Bowhunters, 11400 Allen Township 109, Findlay.
• Tune-up your turkey calls for a National Wild Turkey Federation calling contest at the Wyandot County Fair. Watch for details.
Abrams is a retired wildlife officer supervisor for the state Division of Wildlife in Findlay. He can be reached at P.O. Box 413, Mount Blanchard, OH 45867-0413 or via email at jimsfieldnotes@aol.com.

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