CRANSTON – The state of Rhode Island is slated to receive $6.7 million for wildlife and sport fish restoration programs, announced U.S. Sen. Jack Reed.
The funds include $3.6 million through the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program and $3.1 million through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program.
“This critical funding will enhance outdoor recreation opportunities and help the state conserve and manage fish and wildlife resources,” said Reed in prepared remarks. “These programs are a smart way to invest in sustaining healthy fish and wildlife populations and preserve open spaces.”
According to the release from Reed’s office, the funds come from excise taxes generated by the sale of hunting and fishing equipment, and electric outboard motors.
“WSFR is based on a ‘user pay/user benefit’ principle, and the taxes are collected from the outdoor industry by federal agencies and distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to state fish and wildlife agencies like the R.I. Department of Environmental Management for on-the-ground conservation,” said the release.
Sport fish restoration funds are used by fish and wildlife agencies to pay for programs, including stocking fish, acquiring and improving sport fish habitat, providing aquatic resource education opportunities, conducting fisheries research, maintaining public access and construction at boat ramps, fishing piers or other facilities used for recreational boating access.
DEM plans to support fisheries projects, boating access and aquatic education programs, among other things, according to DEM spokesperson Gail Mastrati.
The state environmental group will use the Wildlife Restoration Act funds for programs including: carrying out surveys and inventories, administering hunter education programs and maintain shooting ranges.
“Fishing, hunting, camping, and boating play a big role in our state’s economy, and we are thankful for Senator Reed’s work to ensure that Rhode Island receives these critical funds to enhance outdoor recreation opportunities for residents and tourists alike,” DEM Director Janet Coit said in prepared remarks.
(Updated with comments from the R.I. Department of Environmental Management.)