MIDWAY, Florida - March 20, 2018 - Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced $26,588,009 million in funding for Florida from revenues generated by the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration acts. The announcement was made by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan from the Joe Budd Youth Conservation Center, which provides students the opportunity to learn about aquatic ecology, archery, angling and hunting in a natural setting.

State-by-state listings of the final Fiscal Year 2018 apportionments of Wildlife Restoration Program fund can be found here and the Sport Fish Restoration Program fund here. Allocations of the funds are authorized by Congress. To date, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has distributed more than $20.2 billion in apportionments for state conservation and recreation projects.

"American sportsmen have sustained a near 80-year commitment to conservation stewardship through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson grant programs. The sale of hunting, archery, shooting, fishing and boating equipment has generated billions of dollars for states to protect fish, wildlife and their habitats," Sheehan said. "We appreciate that hunters and anglers are among America's greatest conservationists, with a deep commitment to all our wildlife and the great outdoors. These grants benefit all of us who enjoy spending time in nature, help ensure wildlife persists for future generations and bolster the outdoor traditions that are central to the identity of our nation."

The funds, which are distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, support critical state conservation and outdoor recreation projects. They are derived from excise taxes paid by the hunting, archery, shooting, boating and angling industries on firearms, archery equipment, ammunition, sport fishing equipment and a portion of gasoline tax attributable to motorboat fuel and small engines.

"Florida's Wildlife Management Area system is one of the largest in the country and has grown throughout the years to encompass nearly 6 million acres," said Florida Wildlife Commission Executive Director Eric Sutton. "These natural communities span a variety of habitats - from longleaf pine uplands and pine flatwoods to the hardwood hammocks and sawgrass savannas of the Everglades. These beautiful areas provide essential habitat for Florida's diverse fish and wildlife and also provide the public with unparalleled fishing, hunting, hiking, boating and wildlife viewing opportunities. The funding provided by the WSFR program when matched with state dollars, supports the management of Florida's WMAs, the freshwater systems and the marine habitats that make Florida so unique."

Sheehan and Sutton were joined by Nick Wiley, Chief Conservation Officer at Ducks Unlimited; Dan Forster, vice president and chief conservation officer at the Archery Trade Association and Ross Melinchuk, the vice president for conservation at the National Wild Turkey Federation.

The recipient state wildlife agencies have matched these funds with approximately $6.7 billion throughout the years, primarily through hunting and fishing license revenues.

For more information about the WSFR program visit http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/.