VT Wildlife Partnership Releases Report, Heads for House Hearing

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Vermont Wildlife Partnership Releases Report, Heads for House Hearing

3/24/08

The Vermont Wildlife Partnership (VWP) has released a new report, Vermont’s Wildlife at the Crossroads: Funding and the Future of Fish and Wildlife in the Green Mountain State. The report is available online at www.vermontwildlifepartnership.org. It documents the recent history of wildlife conservation funding in Vermont and the need for substantial change in how the state’s fish and wildlife programs are funded.

On Thursday, March 27, the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife, and Water Resources is hosting a Public Hearing on H.543 (Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department Funding) in Room 11 at the Vermont Statehouse from 5-7 pm. Everyone with an interest in fish and wildlife is encouraged to attend.

The Vermont Wildlife Partnership is a diverse and growing coalition of over 50 businesses, hunting, fishing, and conservation organizations—collectively representing thousands of individual Vermonters. VWP is working to ensure the future of Vermont’s fish and wildlife legacy, its sporting traditions, and a key sector of the state economy. To ensure the future of Vermont’s fish and wildlife, the Vermont Wildlife Partnership advocates implementation of the primary recommendation of the 2007 Legislative Fish and Wildlife Funding Task Force Report: the dedication of “1/8 of 1 cent” of the State Sales Tax to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. Vermont would follow in the footsteps of states like Missouriand Arkansas, where 1/8 of a penny from every $1 sale goes to conservation.

“The time to act on behalf of wildlife and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is now,” says Roy Marble, President of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and a member of the VWP Steering Committee. “After two state studies and three independent surveys over the past 20 years, it’s time to act. To wait longer is irresponsible.”

According to three public opinion surveys conducted since 1995, 4 out of 5 Vermonters support the “1/8 of 1 cent” measure. The measure would provide the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department with $6 to 7 million annually and would leverage millions more in Federal funds. These monies would be used to hire adequate law enforcement personnel, improve wildlife and fisheries management, expand recreational opportunities and access, enhance habitat conservation and educational programs, and implement Vermont’s comprehensive Wildlife Action Plan (http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/SWG_home.cfm).

“Healthy and abundant wildlife populations are an essential part of Vermont’s culture and economy,” says Jim Shallow, Audubon Vermont Conservation and Policy Director, and recent co-chair of the Task Force on Fish and Wildlife Funding. “Hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching generate over $380 million in economic activity in Vermont. I hope Vermonters take the opportunity to come to the Statehouse on March 27th to show their support for investing in wildlife through the work of the Fish and Wildlife Department and their partners.”

VWP was recently awarded a grant from the Wildlife Action Opportunities Fund of the Wildlife Conservation Society. The Wildlife Conservation Society manages national and international conservation projects, research, and education programs. For more information, contact George Gay, Executive Director of the Northern Forest Alliance and VWP Steering Committee member, at 802-253-8227 or info@vermontwildlifepartnership.org.

Media Contact:
George Gay, VWP Steering Committee Member (802) 253-8227 info@vermontwildlifepartnership.org
 


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