If you hunt or fish in Iowa, you have enjoyed the fruits of a program that has been providing money for conservation for 75 years.
The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program has funded acquisition, construction, restoration, research, surveys, stocking, and many other activities in Iowa from the federal excise tax paid on hunting and fishing equipment, bait and ammunition.
"This federal program has been the lifeblood for the states supporting nearly everything we do for the benefit of hunters, anglers and trappers," said Chuck Corell, administrator for the wildlife, fisheries, parks, forests, land acquisition and law enforcement bureaus in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
"Our hunting and fishing opportunities would look much different today if not for the vision by the early leaders of conservation," Corell said. "All of the fish we stock, the research projects, population surveys, expanding public land, installing boat ramps and on and on have all been helped by money from this program.
"It is probably the most important legislation supporting conservation work in Iowa and across the country," Corell said.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed a proclamation officially recognizing the role of hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, boaters and allied industries in supporting the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs through their contributions to the American System of Conservation Funding.
Gov. Branstad signed the proclamation on Aug. 16.
The ending line in the proclamation provides a fitting summary to what the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program has done to restore and improve the opportunities for hunters, anglers, and trappers to continue experiencing Iowa's outdoor heritage.
"The cooperative partnership has resulted in the most successful model of fish and wildlife management in the world, restoring populations throughout the country."