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Alternative Funding Mechanisms for Wildlife: Some Examples of Funding Allocation and Accountability by State

June 24, 2002

Prepared for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

by Erika L. Stueck

Animal Protection of New Mexico, Inc.
P.O. Box 11395, Albuquerque, NM 87192


States Included:










The Heritage Fund was established by ballot initiative in 1990. It provides approximately $10 million annually to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, as well as an additional $10 million to Arizona State Parks1. This money comes from state lottery proceeds, and funds are allocated within the Department of Game and Fish as follows:

Heritage Fund Allocations for FY 1999-20002

IIPAM (Identification, Inventory,

Protection, and Management) $2,914,848

Habitat Acquisition 1,934,232

Urban Wildlife 1,214,520

Habitat Evaluation and Protection 1,214,520

Environmental Education 404,840

Public Access 404,840


Arizona Game and Fish Total Revenue for FY 1999-20002

Game and Fish Fund $17,352,600

Watercraft Licensing Fund 2,236,400

Game, Nongame Fund 187,600

Federal Aid Fund 17,475,800


Off-Highway Vehicle Fund 746,100

Capital Improvement/Conservation Dev. Fund 463,700

Other Funds 1,426,000


STRATEGIC PLAN3: "Wildlife 2006" was developed using public surveys, program evaluations, customer assessments, and input from Arizona citizens.

ACCOUNTABILITY4: Each year, the commission is required to submit an annual report to the following people:

  1. The President of the Senate.
  2. The Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  3. The Chairman of the Senate
  4. The House of Representatives Committees on Natural Resources and Agriculture.

In addition, a performance audit of the Game and Fish Commission Heritage Fund is to be conducted every ten years.


The 1/8 of 1% Conservation Tax was passed on the ballot in 1996. Approximately $17 million of this is earmarked annually for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Other agencies and programs that benefit from this money include the Division of State Parks ($17 million), Keep Arkansas Beautiful ($1.5 million), and the Department of Arkansas Heritage ($1.5 million)1. The funds for the Arkansas Game Commission are allocated as follows:

Project5 Amount Increase in Budget

Purchasing and Improving Land $5.0 million 432%

Private Lands Programs $3.4 million --

Law Enforcement $2.6 million 32%

Restoring Previous Fish/Wildlife Programs $2.5 million 44%

Conservation Education $2.3 million 200%

Endangered Species/Habitat Protection $1.2 million 554%

TOTAL $17 million

STRATEGIC PLAN5: "The Plan for Conservation" details how the money is to be spent.

ACCOUNTABILITY6: Funds for the Arkansas Game Commission are deposited in the State Treasury under the "Game Protection Fund," and are to be used only by the Game and Fish Commission. These monies are appropriated by the General Assembly. The General Assembly is also responsible for the proper enforcement of this Amendment (Amendment 75).




The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Trust Fund was established in 1992. With this Fund, 50% of Colorado state lottery revenues are split among the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, the Division of Wildlife, nonprofit conservation organizations, and local governments. GOCO provides the Division of Wildlife with approximately $14 million per year1. The funds are distributed as follows:

Allocation of GOCO Funds within the Division of Wildlife (FY2001-2002)7

Acquisition of High Priority Habitat $1,528,087

Enhancement of Habitat on Lands and Water 473,000

Support for Land Use Decision Making 1,200,000

Wetlands Initiative 750,000

Native Species Protection 2,503,913

Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery 1,370,000

Propagation of Aquatic Species at Risk 425,000

Youth Education 1,239,000

River Stewardship 161,000

Wildlife Viewing 643,000

GOCO Grants Management 107,000

TOTAL $10,400,000

STRATEGIC PLAN8: "Draft for Public Comment: Great Outdoors Colorado Strategic Plan Draft"

ACCOUNTABILITY9: Funds are distributed by a governor appointed board. Each year, the Wildlife Department submits an annual report and a "base funding proposal" to the board. The Wildlife Department is also expected to consult with the General Assembly on occasion, regarding its budget and objectives.

The State Board of the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund consists of:

  1. 2 members of the public from each congressional district (Governor appointed)
  2. A representative designated by the State Board of Parks and Outdoor Recreation
  3. A representative designated by the Colorado Wildlife Commission
  4. The Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources

NOTE: GOCO currently funds 45 full time employees in the Division of Wildlife. Most of these employees are working on endangered species programs.




Conservation 2000 provides $100 million in general funds over 6 years, to be divided among the Department of Natural Resources, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Agriculture. Passed by the General Assembly in 1995 (100% in favor),

Conservation 2000 was recently extended by Governor George Ryan until 2009. These funds go to broad-based, voluntary, incentive-based programs. This is appropriate for Illinois, where 90% of the land is private, and 75% is farmland.

Strategic Plan: I have requested a copy of Conservation 2000, 6 Year Report

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Receives funding for the Following:

Ecosystems Program

Review of Illinois Water Law

Ecosystem Monitoring Program

Natural Resources Information Network

50,000 acres of habitat restoration

2,000 Ecosystem Partnerships established

1,800 Citizen Scientists trained to monitor 400+ EcoWatch areas.




During the past few years, a small portion of the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund lottery proceeds have gone to fisheries, wildlife, and enforcement programs (~$1.4 million). However, for the 2001-2003 biennium, the legislature has dedicated $22.8 million of the lottery revenue to the "Game and Fish Fund," which is normally funded by license fees and fines10. Examples of programs are as follows:

Program11: Amount: % of Total:

Fishing Habitat Improvements $3,960,000 17.6

Wildlife Management Areas $2,000,000 8.9

Enforcement Equipment $1,328,000 5.9

Minnesota County Biological Survey $1,300,000 5.8

Enforcement Officers $1,200,000 5.3

Fish Hatcheries and Rearing Ponds $1,000,000 4.4

Fisheries Land Acquisition $1,000,000 4.4

Improving Wildlife Habitat on Private Land $ 950,000 4.2

Stream Protection and Improvement Loans $ 850,000 3.8

Wildlife Population Research $ 600,000 2.6

Wetland Restoration $ 525,000 2.3

Prescribed Burns $ 500,000 2.2

Wolf Management $ 495,000 2.2

Prairie Grassland Development $ 475,000 2.1

Nongame Wildlife Program $ 440,000 2.0

Forest Habitat Improvement $ 400,000 1.7

Ecological Information Management $ 374,000 1.6

Birds as Ecological Indicators $ 350,000 1.5

Natural Resource Education $ 200,000 0.9

Prairie Stewardship on Private Lands $ 148,000 0.65

Waterfowl Development $ 70,000 0.3

Prairie Chicken Reintroduction $ 60,000 0.26

TOTAL* $22,441,000 80.6%

* Not all programs are listed.




A 1/8 of 1% sales tax provides over $75 million per year for the Missouri Department of Conservation. For FY2000-2001, the Conservation Sales Tax provided the Department with approximately $88 million. Details regarding the allocation of these funds can be found in their annual report (attached).

MDC Disbursements for FY2000-200112

Forests 15,166,928

Wildlife 13,739,792

Fisheries 14,337,752

Natural History 2,306,434

Law Enforcement 15,239,784

Outreach and Education 15,239,784

Private Land Services 4,603,906

Administration 5,834,998

Admin. Services/Human Resources 30,203,931

Land Acquisition, Landowner

Assistance, In-Lieu Taxes 3,864,469

Construction and Development 20,402,924

Design and Development 9,399,512

TOTAL* $147,990,064

* Total includes all sources of revenue, i.e. permit sales, federal reimbursements, etc.

STRATEGIC PLAN13: "The New Design for Conservation"

ACCOUNTABILITY: (Personal Communication, Daniel Zekor, Missouri Dept. of Conservation) The tax and all other Dept. funds are co-mingled. There isn't a tax pot, federal pot, permit fees pot, etc. Funds are budgeted internally according to need and priorities.

#1 The CICC (Capital Improvements Coordinating Committee) Consists of upper level management (Division Administrators). They meet monthly to discuss status and relative priorities of all projects.

#2 The process is a long-term planning/prioritization process looking both short-term (annual) and long-term (about five years out).

#3 No sunset clause exists. We are part of the Executive Budgeting process and must still receive legislative approval of our funds; however, the funds are secure and the Conservation Commission oversees allocation of funds internally. We believe the sales tax requires a level of public accountability not found in most government agencies. We do substantial public involvement ranging from surveys to focus groups to stakeholder sessions to public meetings.

#4 To a significant degree, the Design for Conservation plan highlighted priorities and areas of emphasis. Department officials, through the budgeting process, determined funds allocation.



In 1998, the legislature passed House Bill 38, which provides that 2% of the State’s sales Tax collected on hunting, fishing, and equipment related to wildlife activity, will be appropriated to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Previously those funds were deposited in the general fund. The Department expects to receive $12 million annually from the earmarked tax, but the amount is capped at $13 million annually1.

Information from Charlie Sledd, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries:

Virginia has a 4.5% sales tax. 2% of the sales tax from hunting, fishing and outdoors equipment goes into "Our Game protection Fund" along with money from boat sales and license sales. The USFWS 1996 survey entitled "National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation" claimed Virginians spent a total of $600,000,000 on these activities per year. 2% of this figure is $12 million.

References in the 1996 survey:

-- Table 55, p.107

-- Table 60, p.111

-- Table 64, p.115

There is a great "pay to use" attitude in Virginia, which helped in getting this measure passed. This would be one advantage over a general tax increase as a finding mechanism for wildlife. The money was allocated using guidelines in the USFWS 1996 Outdoor Recreation Survey.



1. Animal Protection of New Mexico, Inc. 2000. Feasibility Study: Generating funding

for Wildlife in New Mexico. Animal Protection of New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

2. Arizona Game and Fish Department. Annual Report FY 1999-2000: Excerpt from

website, www.gf.state.az.us. Arizona Game and Fish Department, Phoenix, Arizona.

3. Arizona Game and Fish Department. 2001. Wildlife 2006: The Arizona Game and

Fish Department’s Wildlife Management Strategic Plan for the Years 2001-2006. Arizona Game and Fish Department, Phoenix, Arizona.

4. Arizona Heritage Fund Constitutional Language. AZ Heritage Fund Alliance website.

5. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. 1996. The Plan for Conservation. Arkansas

Game and Fish Commission, Little Rock, Arkansas.

6. Amendment 75. Sales and Use Tax for Support of the Arkansas Game and Fish

Commission, the Department of Parks and Tourism, the Arkansas Department of Heritage and Keep Arkansas Beautiful.

7. Great Outdoors Colorado. 2002. Division of Wildlife FY2001-2002 Grants. GOCO,

Denver, Colorado.

8. Great Outdoors Colorado. 2002. Draft for Public Comment: Great Outdoors

Colorado Strategic Plan Draft. GOCO, Denver, Colorado.

9. State Board of the GOCO Trust Fund. 1992. Text of Constitutional Amendment,

Article XXVII, Great Outdoors Colorado Program. GOCO, Denver, Colorado.

10. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 2002. What About State Lottery

Money? www.dnr.state.mn.us. Minnesota DNR, Saint Paul, Minnesota.

11. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 2002. Game and Fish Fund.

www.dnr.state.nm.us. Minnesota DRN, Saint Paul, Minnesota.

12. Missouri Department of Conservation. 2001. What the Money Buys: Fiscal Year

    1. Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City, Missouri.

13. Missouri Department of Conservation. 1975. The New Design for Conservation.

The Conservationist 36(8): 125 pp.



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