The Montana Wildlife Federation, along with wildlife federations from 34 other states and the National Wildlife Federation, have called on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to ensure that the department’s recently-announced review of grants doesn’t impair state wildlife management and hunting access programs.
Last month, Secretary Zinke announced a freeze on all Interior Department grants over $100,000 while the agency reviews its budget. Unfortunately, this freeze has caught up the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Wildlife And Sport Fish Restoration Program. These funds are crucial to management of fish and wildlife, and providing hunting and fishing opportunities. In Montana, the delay in funding has already caused the cancellation of a statewide Hunter Education conference and instructor training. A prolonged delay could result in the missed opportunity of the Grant Marsh WMA in eastern Montana, as well as other long-term conservation projects.
Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson are not “grants” in the traditional sense, because they are directly funded from excise taxes that are paid by all of us hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and boaters and put into a special Trust Fund to enable our state fish and wildlife agencies to carry out their conservation and management missions. Senator Jon Tester has also asked the Interior Secretary to release wildlife management funds.
We hope that Secretary Zinke will honor our request and allow these crucial funds to move forward without delay.
Read the Wildlife Federations Letter to Zinke.