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Oklahoma's Annual Wildlife, Sport Fish Restoration Funding Increased

From Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

-- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced fiscal year 2008 Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs funding. Oklahoma's share of the funding is at an all time high. The state's share of the 2008 Wildlife Restoration funds are $6,549,087 while the Sport Fish Restoration funds are $7,502,897. This is a combined increase of $1,451,684 over last year's funds.

The total pool of available funds is determined by how much is raised from a special federal excise tax that is levied on hunting and fishing equipment and motorboat fuel. The money is distributed to all 50 state fish and wildlife agencies based on a formula that includes land mass of the state and the number of hunting and fishing licenses sold in that state.

"Since the equipment and gas tax is collected nationwide and the land and water area isn't likely to change, funding for Oklahoma's wildlife conservation really comes down to the number of hunting and fishing licenses sold," said John Stafford, federal aid coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "It is very important that hunters and anglers introduce their friends and family to the sport to ensure the future of our outdoor heritage."

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funds are used by the Wildlife Department for a wide range of important activities, including the purchase and maintenance of wildlife management areas; construction of fish hatcheries, research laboratories and user facilities; surveying and managing fish and wildlife populations; training volunteer instructors; and educating young hunters and anglers in safe firearms handling, fish and wildlife resources and ethics afield.

The Wildlife Department receives no general state tax revenues and is funded by sportsmen through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and special federal excise taxes on sporting goods. 

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