2007-04-12 / News

State receives grant for more open space

Rhode Island will receive $5,685,841 in fiscal year 2007 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in an effort to protect and conserve Rhode Island's fish and wildlife populations and preserve open spaces for statewide conservation.

"This federal funding is a smart, effective investment in conserving Rhode Island's natural resources," said Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies, which oversees spending on these federal grant programs. "Rhode Island's fish and wildlife are vital to our economy. This money will help preserve our many natural resources throughout Rhode Island. We need to safeguard our environment so future generations can enjoy the scenic state we have today."

Rhode Island will receive nearly $3.5 million in fiscal year 2007 from the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (also known as the Dingell-Johnson Act). This money will be used for activities such as stocking fish, improving recreational boating access, and researching fisheries.

Dingell-Johnson is financed from a federal tax and import duties on sport fishing equipment and recreational boat fuels and is distributed back to the states based on the number of licensed anglers and the amount of land and water area open to recreation.

Rhode Island will also receive over $1.5 million in fiscal year 2007 through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (also known as the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Fund) for habitat research and hunter-education programs. These funds are derived from an 11 percent federal excise tax on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment, and a 10 percent tax on handguns.

The state will also receive $607,549 from the State Wildlife Grants Program to help prevent species and habitats from becoming endangered. This federal funding will be used to purchase land and protect wildlife species in greatest need of conservation.

"Taking action to conserve wildlife before it becomes endangered is environmentally sound and fiscally responsible," noted Reed. "In the long run, the State Wildlife Grants Program actually saves taxpayers money by keeping species from declining to the point of becoming federally endangered."

Last year Rhode Island received approximately $4.8 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for these programs. The fiscal year 2007 funding level of $5.685 million represents a 15 percent increase over last year's funding for these key programs.

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