Support for Dedicated Federal Funding to Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered

Number: 2016-02

WHEREAS, the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 and the Dingell-Johnson Sportfish Restoration Act of 1950 put in place a system in which federal funding for wildlife conservation is generated through excise taxes paid by hunters and anglers and invested in state fish and wildlife agencies; and

WHEREAS, this system of funding from the contributions of hunters and anglers has supported the development of the most effective wildlife management system in the world, recovering many of our most treasured game and sportfish species; and

WHEREAS, the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson programs were set up as “user-pay user-benefit” programs and thus focused primarily on game and sportfish and the opportunities associated with them; and

WHEREAS, lacking dedicated funding, our state and federal wildlife biologists have not had the financial resources necessary to manage hundreds of other wildlife species, including songbirds, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, rare fish, mussels, and butterflies and other insects; and

WHEREAS, lacking conservation attention, many species have declined over the years, increasing the number of imperiled and endangered wildlife; and

WHEREAS, in 2000, Congress authorized the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program as a sub-account of Pittman-Robertson but did not create a dedicated funding stream for the program; and

WHEREAS, the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program, which Congress has funded through the annual appropriations process, has demonstrated the efficacy of funding to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered, but is insufficient in size, scope, and reliability; and

WHEREAS, the national expert Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America's Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources has called for the enactment of federal legislation to provide critically needed $1.3 billion in dedicated annual funding for the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program from existing revenue from development of energy and mineral resources on federal lands and waters to effectively implement State Wildlife Action Plans and conserve thousands of species in greatest need of conservation as identified by State Wildlife Action Plans; and

WHEREAS, the National Wildlife Federation played a leading role in building the broad-based conservation army that led to the enactment and implementation of the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts, as well as the creation of the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program and State Wildlife Grants program through its leadership with the Teaming with Wildlife Coalition.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Wildlife Federation, in its Annual Meeting assembled June 16-18, 2016 in Estes Park, Colorado, supports enactment of legislation to provide a minimum of $1.3 billion in dedicated annual funding for the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program of Pittman-Robertson from existing federal oil and gas and mining revenues and/or another reliable source not previously dedicated to other conservation programs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Wildlife Federation supports the revitalization of the Teaming with Wildlife Coalition, mobilizing a diverse coalition of hunters, anglers, wildlife watchers, wildlife biologists, businesses, agricultural landowners, and other interests to secure enactment of this legislation; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the National Wildlife Federation recognizes the need for state wildlife agencies to expand and strengthen their capacity to conserve fish and wildlife and engage a more diverse public in wildlife conservation.