Agency-Industry Partnership: Strengthening Conservation Efforts Through the "Partner with a Payer" Initiative

Agency-Industry Partnership: Strengthening Conservation Efforts Through the "Partner with a Payer" Initiative

The conservation of fish and wildlife in the United States is a collaborative effort that relies heavily on funding from license and permit sales through state fish and wildlife agencies. Additionally, excise taxes associated with the manufacture and sale of certain products, such as firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing tackle, and boat fuel, play a significant role in funding conservation. These taxes are collected at the manufacturer or importer level and passed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (USFWS-WSFR) back to the state agencies based on annual license sales and the geographic size of the state. The Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) has long-recognized the importance of these partnerships and has worked diligently to foster better relationships between state fish and wildlife agencies, the USFWS, and the excise tax-paying industry partners.

Two anglers with striped bass

The "Partner with a Payer" Initiative

Several years ago, the USFWS introduced the Partner with a Payer initiative, aiming to further strengthen the bond between conservation agencies and industry partners. WMI and state agencies had been active in this area for some time and this effort was synergistic to work that was ongoing by the Institute. This initiative emphasizes the importance of collaboration between those who contribute financially to conservation efforts (the payers) and those who implement these efforts on the ground. As a part of both previous efforts and the current Partner with a Payer initiative, WMI has coordinated the development and update of an “Agency-Industry Partner Rolodex” database with the anticipation that its implementation and use will play a pivotal role in supporting these efforts by all parties by:

  1. Facilitating Direct Communication and Coordination: The database allows for a straightforward contact listing for communication between agencies and industry partners, ensuring that both parties are aligned in their conservation goals and strategies. It further ensures all relevant stakeholders are identified and engaged.
  2. Promoting Collaboration: By providing a platform for agencies and industry partners to connect, the database encourages collaborative projects and initiatives under the Partner with a Payer banner or in other initiatives.

Why is the Partnership Important?

The partnership between agencies and the industry, especially under the Partner with a Payer initiative, is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Shared Goals: Both the industry and agencies have a vested interest in the conservation of fish and wildlife. The industry benefits from a thriving ecosystem as it ensures a continuous demand for their products, while agencies aim to conserve the environment for future generations and provide opportunities for the public to connect with nature.
  2. Financial Support: The industry's contribution through excise taxes is a significant source of funding for conservation projects. The Partner with a Payer initiative recognizes and leverages this financial support, creating an awareness of how state agencies use these funds for so many benefits at the community level.
  3. Expertise and Resources: Collaborative efforts bring together the expertise and resources of both sectors, leading to more effective and efficient conservation strategies, the promotion of initiatives like R3, and more.

In conclusion, the partnership between state fish and wildlife agencies and the industry, bolstered by the Partner with a Payer initiative and supported by the longstanding work of WMI, is vital for the conservation of resources and providing public opportunities. The Agency-Industry Partner Rolodex is an asset for people interested in building and strengthening these relationships, ensuring a brighter future for fish and wildlife conservation in the United States.

If your organization represents one of the partners (USFWS, State Fish and Wildlife Agency, or Industry Partner) you can access the database by clicking on the Industry tab on this website. First-time users will be required to provide some basic identification before credentials will be issued.

This project is funded by the Multistate Conservation Grant Program (F20AP00194, F21AP00827, and F22AP00620), a program supported with funds from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program and jointly managed by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Photo Credit
Joe Manansala, Flickr
September 15, 2023