Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, chaired by Tiahrt,
allocates $85 million for State Wildlife Grants Program

WASHINGTON, DC -- Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) was recently presented with an award for leadership in championing federal funding for state-based wildlife conservation under the State Wildlife Grants Program (SWG). The award recognizes his participation in SWG, which remains the nation's core program for preventing wildlife from becoming endangered. The award was presented by Teaming with Wildlife, a national coalition of more than 5,000 conservation-minded organizations and businesses working to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered.
“This past year has been a great experience as I have taken on the new role of Ranking Member of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee,” said Representative Tiahrt. "I have thoroughly enjoyed learning more and more about issues that have always been close to my heart -- the preservation of our national treasures, from land and wildlife to art and historical documents. I look forward to working with [Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee] Chairman [Norm] Dicks [D-WA] and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that state wildlife organizations have the funding they need to fully implement their wildlife action plans and conserve wildlife and natural areas for future generations.”
The U.S. House of Representatives Interior Appropriations Subcommittee allocated $85 million for SWG for the 2008 Fiscal Year, an increase from the previous year’s allocation of $67.5 million. The $85 million figure was advanced in letters signed by 60 Senators and 162 Representatives to the House and Senate Interior Appropriations subcommittees, showing a strong bi-partisan support for the program. Ultimately, $73.8 million was approved in the final omnibus bill for current-year SWG funding.

“We combine State Wildlife Grants money with state funds for habitat restoration projects,” said Ken Brunson, wildlife diversity coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. “An excellent example is a recently approved project with the Dyck Arboretum at Hesston called the Prairie Window Project. This prairie restoration project demonstrates how this money can be used to help landowners who are interested in improving native prairies. The State Wildlife Grants Program addresses priority needs and species in the Kansas wildlife action plan and is a cooperative way to try to keep more species from becoming endangered.”
The SWG Program provides federal money to every state and territory for cost-effective conservation aimed at preventing wildlife from becoming endangered. This program continues the long history of cooperation between the federal government and states for managing and conserving wildlife. Funds appropriated under the SWG Program are allocated to every state according to a formula based on each state’s size and population.
Despite historical successes in bringing many wildlife species back from the brink of extinction, other species have continued to decline, as evidenced by the large numbers listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. State hunting and fishing license dollars, federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear, and motorboat fuel taxes have provided the backbone for funding the nation’s state wildlife conservation programs over the past century. However, there has always been a gap in funding for species that are not hunted or fished. SWG has provided state fish and wildlife agencies with the resources they need to fill that gap.

To lean more about the Teaming with Wildlife Coalition, click here. To see the Kansas wildlife action plan, “A Future for Kansas Wildlife,” click here. An article on the SWG program from Kansas Wildlife & Parks magazine may also be found on this page.