[CT Birds] Funding

Wayne Bartholomew wsbartholomew1 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 12 12:37:32 EDT 2013

I'd like to thank Chris as well for the information he has provided
regarding the funding of governmental conservation programs. I think the
take away point here is that there is this incredible financial mechanism
in the form of the Pittman-Robertson Act signed into law by President
Roosevelt in 1937 which has not only preserved millions of acres of habitat
and stimulated conservation research and management programs but has also
indirectly underwritten a vibrant economic engine for hundreds of
communities across the nation. These communities benefit from the thousands
of hunters and other outdoor and wildlife enthusiasts who pass through each
year to enjoy our refuges and parks. I've taken the liberty to cite from
the links Chris provided as follows:

According to Wikipedia  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittman-Robertson_Act)
the   P-R Act generates between 177 ands 324 million dollars a day towards
these programs while USF&WS (
http://www.fws.gov/southeast/federalaid/pittmanrobertson.html) states that

*"funding from P-R pays for up to 75 percent of project costs, with the
States putting up at least 25 percent. The assurance of a steady source of
earmarked funds has enabled the program's administrators, both State and
Federal, to plan projects that take years to complete, as short-term
strategies seldom come up with lasting solutions where living creatures are

*In the more than 50 years since P-R began, over $2 billion in Federal
excise taxes has been matched by more than $500 million in State funds
(chiefly from hunting license fees) for wildlife restoration. Benefits to
the economy have been equally impressive. National surveys show that
hunters now spend some $10 billion every year on equipment and trips.
Non-hunting nature lovers spend even larger sums to enjoy wildlife, on
travel and on items that range from bird food to binoculars, from special
footwear to camera equipment. Areas famous for their wildlife have directly
benefited from this spending, but so have sporting goods and outdoor
equipment manufacturers, distributors and dealers. Thousands of jobs have
been created.*

*Of the P-R funds available to the States, more than 62 percent is used to
buy, develop, maintain, and operate wildlife management areas. Some 4
million acres have been purchased outright since the program began, and
nearly 40 million acres are managed for wildlife under agreements with
other landowners.* *Various kinds of land have been acquired, including
winter rangelands necessary for big game animals in the North and West, and
wetlands, essential to ducks and geese for nesting, wintering, and stopover
feeding and rest during migrations.*

Birders as a whole have also poured many millions of dollars and hundreds
of thousands of volunteer hours directly into preserving habitat and
developing extensive management and research programs primarily in
conjunction with NGOs. When it comes to federal and state programs the
hunting community has certainly anted up and they deserve a lot of credit
for that. But this isn’t a competition and, if we want to increase our
cachet when it comes to federal and state conservation efforts, perhaps we
should push for a levy on our purchases of optical equipment, birdseed and
other related supplies, and possibly even the commercial guiding industry.
The PR Act has been a win win deal not only for hunters but also for all of
us and I would certainly support any efforts to broaden the birding
community’s participation in a similar fashion.

wayne bartholomew

Bethany, CT

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