Historical Context of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program

John F. Organ Christina Zarrella U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Origins
 Late 1800s/early 1900’s - wildlife conservation

became established largely through the efforts of conservation organizations such as the Boone and Crockett Club as mostly a program of refuges, game breeding, law enforcement, predator control, and regulation of seasons and bag limits.

Conservation Pioneers
 Man and Nature - George Perkins Marsh
 Yellowstone Park Protection Act – John Lacey  Lacey Act

 New York Zoological Society – Madison Grant
 Migratory Bird Treaty

Roosevelt Era
 1908 – Conference of Governors

Wildlife Management Origins
 Up to circa 1905, dominant paradigm was to Perpetuate, rather than to improve or create
 Hunting thought of as something that must

eventually disappear  Restrictive regulations designed to string out a dwindling supply  Better law enforcement and prohibition of market hunting were thought to be the answer

Science as a Tool
 Novel concept at advent of 20th century
 Early naturalists discovered, catalogued, and described

 Realization that species are not like planets or geologic strata – different in that civilizations can destroy them
 “New” breed of naturalists would not accept this

Science as a Tool
 1924: Herb Stoddard, Bobwhite Quail and

land management in Georgia  1928: Aldo Leopold and the Game Surveys

RESTORATION PHASE
POST-1920 AMERICA
 Population primarily Urban
 Hunters increasing (3 million in 1910; 6 million in

1920).  Sportsmen’s organizations decline

The Need for Federal Funding
 Excise Tax on sporting arms and ammunition
  

established in 1918 with intent to fund Migratory Bird Treaty Act implementation. 1925 - Federal Hunting Stamp proposed and Refuge Bill drafted. Bill failed to pass Congress. AFWA recommended tax be used to fund Refuge Bill Congress repealed all Excise Taxes Hoover reinstated Excise Tax during depression for a period set to expire in 1938

LEOPOLD
 GAME SURVEY OF

NORTH CENTRAL STATES: 1928-1930

1930 AMERICAN GAME POLICY
 Land acquisition  Partnerships:landowners/hunters/public  Experiment state-by-state ways partnership yields  
 

management Research (find facts) Joint conservation program with hunters and protectionists together with scientists and landowners Establish wildlife management profession Adequate, equitable, secure $

Franklin Roosevelt Era
 Ding Darling comes to Washington in 1934
 Heads Bureau of Biological Survey  Establishes Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit System

Carl Shoemaker
 Oregon Fish and Game Commission Chief
 1930 - U.S. Senate Special Committee on Wildlife

Resources

Carl Shoemaker
 1937 - During 2nd North American Wildlife

Conference, Shoemaker, Darling and others discussed the decade-old Refuge and Hunting Stamp Bill  Shoemaker writes 1st draft of Wildlife Restoration Act  John Burnham, president of American Game Protective Association (now WMI) was on AFWA committee that drafted 1925 Bill  Shoemaker goes to SAAMI meeting in New York; with Burnham’s help gets Industry’s endorsement

Senator Key Pittman
 Chair of Senate Special Committee on Wildlife

Resources  Shoemaker asks him to sponsor the Bill – He readily agrees

Congressman A. Willis Robertson
 1926 – 1932 Virginia Commissioner of Game and
   

Inland Fisheries Member of Leopold’s 1930 American Game Policy Committee 1933 – 1946 U.S. Congress House of Representatives 1946 – 1966 U.S. Senate Chair – House Special Committee on Wildlife

Congressman A. Willis Robertson
 Robertson’s 29 words: “...and which shall include a

prohibition against the diversion of license fees paid by hunters for any other purpose than the administration of said State fish and game department...”

Senate Deliberations
 Bill introduced in House and Senate on July 20, 1937  Senator Wallace H. White (ME): “We have the time in

this country when many species of our game life will disappear altogether unless the people of the country arouse themselves, and unless there are adopted measures of conservation and measures of restoration……… This Bill recognizes this great necessity….I believe the people of the country will give wholehearted approval to the efforts of the Congress to stay the wanton destruction of our game life which has been going on over the years.”

House Deliberations
 Robertson’s Committee did not have jurisdiction
 Agriculture Committee ruled over Bills involving

Bureau of Biological Survey  Chair Scott Lucas (IL), an ardent hunter, was not aggressive in pushing Bill  Shoemaker sent telegrams to all Garden Clubs and Women’s groups in Illinois urging them to contact Lucas  “For God’s sake, Carl, take the women off my back and I’ll move the Bill immediately”

September 2, 1937
 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signs the Bill into

law.  Within 12 months, 43 of 48 States enact laws assenting to provisions of Act prohibiting use of Hunter license revenues for purposes other than administration of fish and wildlife agency.

Implementation
 USFWS Director Ira Gabrielson puts Albert Day in

charge  Day immediately begins meetings with State directors

3 Types of State Projects Allowed
 Purchase of Land for Wildlife Rehabilitation Purposes
 Development of Land to make it more suitable for wild

mammals and birds  Research projects set up on a definite basis and directed to the solution of problems that stand in the way of wildlife restoration

Trained and Competent
 Policy created requiring State agency personnel hired

to work on P-R to be “trained and competent.”  USFWS had to approve before they were hired.  “One of the chief difficulties we have encountered and one of the most discouraging things in the administration of the wildlife resources of this country has been the large turnover in the administrative officers of the various state game departments.” – Albert Day

Management Added
 1955 – Amendment allowing P-R funds to be used for

management of wildlife areas and facilities, exclusive of public relations and law enforcement.  Also allowed excise taxes to be directly apportioned to states by USFWS instead of being appropriated by Congress

Hunter Education
 Early 1970s – Amendments adding excise taxes to

handguns and archery equipment  Approved use of one-half of these revenues for Hunter Education programs.

Origins of Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act
 1939 – Congressman Frank Buck proposes excise tax
 1941 – 10% E.T. imposed to fund war effort  1946 – Buck reintroduces Bill

 1947 – John Dingell, Sr. introduces Bill
 1949 – Dingell and Senator Johnson introduce Bill  1950 – D-J Sport Fish Restoration Bill passes

Wallop-Breaux Amendments
 1979 – Senator Jennings Randolph and Congressman

John Breaux introduce legislation to expand SFR E.T.  1982 – Sport Fishing Association develops compromise that substitutes motor boat fuels tax and import duties  1984 – Breaux and Senator Malcolm Wallop get Amendment passed

Wallop-Breaux Amendments
 Dramatically Increased Program funding
 Requires Boating Access Program  Allowed funding for Aquatic Resources Education

 Split Freshwater and Saltwater funding
 Subsequent Amendments:  Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program  Clean Vessel Act Program  Boating Infrastructure Grant Program

2000 Improvement Act
 Multi-State Conservation Grant Program
 Enhanced Firearm and Bowhunter Education and

Safety Program (Section 10)  Funding for 4 Fisheries Commissions  Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council

Protecting License Dollars
 Robertson’s 29 Words
 Legacy of WSFR Program  Protects license revenues and assets acquired with

license revenues: Lands, Vehicles, Interest, Buildings, Equipment………..  Snapshot: During February 2009 WSFR Regional
Offices were actively involved in preventing 10 diversions nationwide

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Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration and the Evolution of American Wildlife Conservation Curtis Taylor, John Organ, Christina Zarrella, Ron Essig

Impact of the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act

The Act enabled (demanded) the professional management of wildlife, and transformed how State fish and wildlife agencies operate. How?

Prussian Forestry Model…

o Professional societies to establish standards

o Universities to train in these standards
o Agencies to do the technical work

Provided Funding…

o To hire trained professionals

o To have trained professionals conduct research
o This led to the profession of wildlife, and later fish,

management to become SCIENCE-DRIVEN and ACCOUNTABLE

For State fish and wildlife agencies to participate in the Wildlife Restoration program, they had to dedicate their hunting license revenue to the wildlife agency.

This same model was used for the later Sport Fish Restoration program.

Today, fish and wildlife management is a formal profession with training, professional organizations, and even certification.

By 2011, more than $6.4 billion in Wildlife Restoration funds have been apportioned to State fish and wildlife agencies. In 2009, States used these funds for:

6.3 7.3

0.6 2 33.2

Operation & Maintenance Research & Surveys Hunter Education Coordination & Admin Capital Development & Stocking Technical Assistance Land Acquisition

12.4

15.5
22.5

Outreach

Some Successes…
o Appalachian Ruffed grouse

- 12 study sites, 10 states
o Joint Wild turkey – 9 study

sites, 2 states
o Atlantic coast striped bass

- $19M over 10 years
o Among many others…. o Long-term stable funding

key

Black Bear - 1940

What’s next?  While WSFR has provided successes, many declining fish and wildlife species are not covered by these two programs.  We need support from a broader segment of the public to benefit all fish and wildlife species

What’s Missing?
 Vested Self-Interest and Passion

The Wildlife Restoration Act, and later Sport Fish Restoration Act, have transformed fish and wildlife Conservation in the U.S.

Thank you to our many partners including other state and federal fish and wildlife agencies, industry, conservation NGOs, and the anglers, boaters, hunters and shooters.

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