This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife Sport Fish Restoration Program. It's a program responsible for almost every important conservation achievement in Texas since 1937.
Today, the 11 percent excise tax you pay on certain hunting and fishing equipment and motor boat fuels funds much of the wildlife research and outdoor education opportunities that benefit all Texans to the tune of $12 billion.
“Wildlife Sport Fish Restoration funds pay for many wildlife conservation activities out there, monitoring on wildlife populations and also biologists working with private landowners to give them the technical guidance they need when they’re seeking advice in managing their habitat for the benefit of wildlife of all Texans," explains Clayton Wolf, Texas Parks & Wildlife Wildlife Division Director.
Both wildlife and aquatic species have benefited, and fishing in Texas is the best in the nation thanks to these funds.
“Really the Sport Fish Restoration funds provide about $18 million dollars to the state of Texas each year," says Dave Terre of Texas Parks & Wildlife Inland Fisheries. "This is huge for our state. Most of those monies are spent on managing freshwater and saltwater fisheries resources, doing research, doing habitat protection and also for stocking fish. These funds have also been used to create literally hundreds of boat ramps, fishing piers that people can use to access our public water bodies.”
Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funds allowed the acquisition of 51 wildlife management areas, efforts to restore native habitat and populations of white-tailed deer, wild turkey, pronghorn and Bighorn sheep. It also funds outreach and angler education, hunter education and training, leasing of some public hunting lands and the construction of public shooting facilities.
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department produces these multi-media reports as an educational resource.