Federal Aid Programs
The FWC receives Federal Aid funding through various grants. Overall, grants accounted for 22 percent of the FWC budget in 2007-08, and most of those come from the federal government. Included in those grant programs are the following:
Sport Fish Restoration Program
The Sport Fish Restoration Program (SFR) provides grant funds to the states, the District of Columbia and insular areas fish and wildlife agencies for fishery projects, boating access and aquatic education. The Program is authorized by the Sport Fish Restoration Act (Dingell-Johnson DJ; primarily excise tax on tackle) of 1950, and was subsequently amended in 1984 (Wallop-Breaux; added motor boat fuel funds and authorized education programs), and more recently in 1991 (Coastal Wetlands), 1992 (Clean Vessel Program), 1998 (Outreach/Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, Coast Guard Boating Safety and Boating Infrastructure Grants) and 2005 (Shifted Coast Guard Boating Safety to states, Multistate Grant Program, additional fuel tax).
The SFR Program was created as a user-pays, user-benefits program to restore and better manage America's declining fishery resources. Excise taxes on fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels, import duties, and interest are collected and appropriated from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. These funds are apportioned to states and territories based on a formula that includes land area (40 percent), number of paid license holders (60 percent), minimums and maximums.
Aquatic Resource Education Programs
The Sport Fish Restoration Act authorizes up to 15 percent of a state's annual Sport Fish Restoration apportionment to be used for Aquatic Resource Education Programs to support angler education, developing outdoor ethics, stewardship and conservation or to increase public understanding of our water resources and associated aquatic life forms.
Boating Access Program
The Boating Access (BA) Program provides grant funds for projects that provide access to waterways by developing new facilities or renovating existing facilities. The Sport Fish Restoration Act mandates that each state allocate at least 15 percent of its annual Sport Fish Restoration apportionment to boating access projects.
Boating Infrastructure Grant Program
The Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (BIG) provides funds to construct, renovate and maintain tie-up facilities with features for transient boaters in vessels 26 feet or more in length, and to produce and distribute information and educational materials about the program. The FWC is designated by the governor to participate in the BIG Program and allows us to partner with local governments, private marinas and others to fund eligible projects.
Clean Vessel Act Program
The Clean Vessel Act Grant Program (CVA) provides grants for the construction, renovation, operation and maintenance of pumpout stations and waste reception facilities for recreational boaters and for educational programs that inform boaters of the importance of proper disposal of their sewage. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection was designated by the governor to participate in the CVA Program and may partner with local governments, private marinas and others to fund eligible projects.
Coastal Wetlands Act
This competitive program provides funding for long-term conservation of coastal wetland ecosystems by helping states and territories to protect, restore and enhance coastal habitats. Eligible projects include the acquisition of real property interest in coastal lands or waters and restoration, enhancement or management of coastal wetlands ecosystems.
Wildlife Restoration Program
The Wildlife Restoration Program (WR) provides grant funds for projects to restore, conserve, manage and enhance wild birds and mammals and their habitats. Projects also include providing public use and access to wildlife resources, hunter education and development and management of shooting ranges. The Program is authorized by the Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson PR) of 1937. The WR Program is the nation's oldest and most successful wildlife restoration program. Through the purchases of firearms, ammunitions and archery equipment the WR Program is a successful user-pay, user-benefit program. Excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment and arrow components are collected and appropriated from the Wildlife Restoration Account These funds are apportioned based on land area, number of paid license holders, minimums and maximums.
Hunter Education Program
The Hunter Education Program funds projects to provide instruction in firearm operations and safety, wildlife management, nature conservation, ethics, game laws, outdoor survival and wilderness first aid. Funds may also be used for the development and operation of archery and shooting range facilities. The goal is to teach students to be safe, responsible, conservation-minded hunters. Florida, like most states, requires completion of a hunter education course prior to purchasing a hunting license.
Multistate Conservation Grant Program
The Multistate Conservation Grant Program (MSCGP) provides funding for wildlife and sport fish restoration projects identified as priority projects by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA). These high-priority projects address problems affecting states on a regional or national basis. Project types that are generally selected for funding are biological research/training, species population status, outreach, data collection regarding hunter/angler participation, hunter/aquatic education, economic value of fishing/hunting, and regional or multistate habitat needs.
State Wildlife Grant Program
The State Wildlife Grants Program provides federal grant funds for developing and implementing programs that benefit wildlife and their habitats, including species not hunted or fished. Priority is placed on projects that benefit species of greatest conservation concern. Grant funds must be used to address conservation needs, such as research, surveys, species and habitat management and monitoring, identified within a state's Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan/Strategy. These funds may also be used to update, revise or modify a state's Strategy. Florida's Wildlife Legacy Initiative is based on this funding. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides funding and support for this program.