Published since 1946
Enduring Partnerships Video Focuses on Wildlife Restoration Success
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program, working closely with the shooting sports and archery industry, released a new video in August that spotlights how excise taxes on the equipment they produce has helped restore wildlife across the country. The Enduring Partnerships video is intended to show how the critical relationship forged between industry and fish and wildlife management agencies is the foundation for these conservation successes.
“Our industry well knows that excise taxes collected on firearms, ammunition and archery products play an important role in conservation,” commented Jim Curcuruto, director of research and market development for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). “The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, commonly called the Pittman-Robertson Act, has received more than $13 billion from firearm, ammunition and archery equipment manufacturers since 1937. State wildlife agencies are the beneficiary of these funds, which, in many cases, make up more than half of these agencies’ annual budgets.”
The video describes how our wildlife and wild places help to define our American heritage, but that few people know how a percentage of the manufacturers’ costs for firearms, ammunition and archery equipment conserve these precious resources. This lack of understanding is true in the general public, but also true within the workforces of these industries or within the agencies that benefit from the funding.
As the video states: “A unique aspect to conservation is that the type of craftsmanship and pride that go into making the products in these facilities ultimately support the women and men working to conserve our outdoor way of life. These partnerships between the manufacturers of hunting and shooting supplies and state and federal fish and wildlife agencies have held true for decades, creating the single-most concerted effort to conserve wildlife in perpetuity the world has ever seen.”
The USFWS works with NSSF, the Archery Trade Association, and the American Sportfishing Association through the Partner with a Payer initiative to help bridge the knowledge gap through a targeted communication effort. For several years, the trade associations and USFWS have hosted field trips where industry staff go afield with state agency biologists, and state agency staff take a tour of a manufacturing facility to see how the products are made. Through the outreach from the Partner with a Payer effort, agency employees are able to get a better understanding of where the funding comes from, and industry employees get a closer look at the work supported by the funding they provide. The Enduring Partnerships video is another tool in educating these partners to show how essential this relationship is for the success of what we now refer to as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.
“State fish and wildlife departments have done a tremendous job as stewards of our nation’s natural resources. Without the dedicated agency staff and their primary funding source, there is no doubt that wildlife would not be as plentiful as it is today,” Curcuruto continued. “The Enduring Partnerships video helps emphasize the important work these agencies do and how Pittman-Robertson funds help them do this.”
A similar communication effort is in place to show how state fisheries programs are funded through the Sportfish Restoration program. The team that produced the Enduring Partnerships video is working with the sportfishing industry to create a video spotlighting fisheries and aquatic conservation work.