State fish and wildlife agencies have long been interested in diversifying their funding sources beyond the traditional model which relies heavily on hunting and fishing license fees to support wildlife and lands managed by the state. For agencies like the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, additional funding sources have been developed over time such as Great Outdoor Colorado (GOCO)/lottery funding, a tax check-off program, and a license plate program. Unfortunately, these revenue streams generate less than 30% of the agency’s wildlife management budget, with hunting and fishing license fees and associated excise taxes still dominating most of the agency’s remaining budget needs.
It is no secret that as the nation’s population expands and becomes more urbanized, demands on the wildlife management agencies for recreation opportunities will surge, wildlife-human conflicts will multiply, and wildlife management will become increasingly difficult. It is clear that the long-term viability of state fish and wildlife agencies depends on their ability to develop new sources of funding to respond to increased public interest in wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation activities.
In this session, speakers will present findings of landmark studies and pilot initiatives that explore new opportunities to fund wildlife conservation by more constituents. Presenters will review alternative funding sources (both potential and realized), analyze alternative conservation funding approaches, evaluate the efficacy of those approaches in terms of their economic and political feasibility, and identify user-group preferences about and attitudes toward alternative funding mechanisms.
Session Co-Chairs: Madeleine West, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership; Bob Broscheid, Arizona State Parks & Trails