Virginia Passes Joint Resolution Funding

Congressional Sportsmens Foundation

Last week, the Virginia Senate passed a resolution (Senate Joint Resolution No. 210), celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the incredibly successful Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, a primary component of the American System of Conservation Funding.

“For 75 years the sportsmen and women of this nation have provided the vast majority of the funds necessary for our state fish and wildlife agencies to perform important conservation work. Their continued support has resulted in the abundant fish and wildlife populations that all citizens are able to enjoy today,” said Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr., Chief Patron of the resolution and Co-Chair of the Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus. “This is a story that needs to be told; credit should be given where credit is due.”

The American System of Conservation Funding is a self-imposed “user pays, public benefits” approach to conservation through which revenue from the sale of hunting and angling licenses is combined with revenue collected through excise taxes on sporting goods (such as: firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing tackle, and motor boat fuel) to create a permanent and dependable source of funding for state fish and wildlife agencies. To this day, approximately 75% (in some cases more) of state fish and wildlife agency funding stems directly from sportsmen and women through the American System of Conservation Funding.

This funding structure allows state fish and wildlife agencies to hire professional fish and wildlife managers, restore and enhance critical fish and wildlife habitat, and provide for sustainable enjoyment of our natural resources for the American public. Just as important, states have used these funds to make sure that the public has ready and dependable access to these resources by purchasing public lands, creating lakes, building shooting ranges and boat ramps, and developing other access opportunities for the enjoyment of the public.

Additionally, the conservation work of the state fish and wildlife agencies provides for numerous ecosystem services that benefit the public at large, including: wetland protection and its associated water filtration and flood retention functions, improved soil and water conservation, and carbon sequestration.

Senator Ralph S. Northam joined Senator Hanger as a Chief Patron on this resolution, while other Patrons included Senator R. Creigh Deeds, and Delegates Barry D. Knight, Edward T. Scott, Tony O. Wilt, and L. Scott Lingamfelter (Co-Chair of the Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus).

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) would like to thank all of the Patrons for their leadership on this issue. Additionally, the CSF would like to thank Delegate Lingamfelter and Senator Hanger for providing a voice for Virginia’s sportsmen and women through their continued leadership of the Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus. The Virginia Caucus is a member of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, a program under the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation banner that presently consists of 39 individual state caucuses with a membership base of approximately 2,000 state legislators (over 25% of all state legislators in the nation).

For more information on the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, or the Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, please refer to: www.sportsmenslink.org.

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