U.S. Department of the Interior Announces $1.5 Billion in Funding for Conservation and Outdoor Recreation, Following Record Increase in Outdoor Recreation Participation

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior, last week announced a record $1.5 billion in annual funding through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) Program to support state and local outdoor recreational opportunities, and wildlife and habitat conservation efforts.

The announcement includes historic levels of funding for the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund (Trust Fund), which was reauthorized as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law late last year, and will deliver significantly increased levels of funding for boating access projects and conservation efforts across the nation.

“America’s anglers and boaters have long held a leading role in America’s vibrant, $689 billion outdoor recreation economy – a fact which is underscored by the Department of the Interior’s announcement,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). “This historic level of funding is a testament to the millions of recreational boaters and anglers who contribute every day to the Trust Fund, which acts as the backbone of aquatic conservation and boating access programs, and ensures generations of Americans are able to spend time on our nation’s waters.”

The WSFR Program apportions excise taxes on hunting, shooting and fishing equipment, and boat fuel to all 50 states and U.S. territories. The core value of all WSFR Programs is fostering cooperative partnerships between federal and state agencies, working alongside hunters, anglers, and other outdoor interests, to enhance recreational opportunities while advancing sustainable resource goals.

These goals are consistent with President Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative to support locally led efforts to conserve and restore our nation’s lands, waters, and wildlife. The initiative’s inclusive approach recognizes that hunters, anglers, private landowners, ranchers, farmers, Tribes, traditional land users, and everyone has a role to play in conservation to conserve America’s lands and waters for future generations.

Congress authorizes the WSFR disbursements through the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act and Dingell-Johnson/Wallop-Breaux Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act. To date, the Service has distributed more than $25.5 billion in apportionments for state conservation and recreation projects. The recipient state wildlife agencies have matched these funds with approximately $8.5 billion throughout the years, primarily through hunting and fishing license revenues.

For questions or additional information, please contact Clay Crabtree, director of federal government relations, at ccrabtree@nmma.org