On October 23, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Member Representative Joe Cunningham (SC), along with CSC members Representatives Garret Graves (LA), CSC Co-chairs Marc Veasey (TX) and Austin Scott (GA) and CSC Vice-chair Debbie Dingell (MI), introduced the Sport Fish Restoration and Recreational Boating Safety Act of 2019 (H.R. 4828). The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) played an instrumental role to see this critically important bill was introduced in a bipartisan fashion. Members of the Angling and Boating Alliance submitted a letter in support of the bill upon introduction.
H.R. 4828 will reauthorize the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund (Trust Fund) that was established by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act, also known as the Dingell-Johnson Act, in 1950. The Trust Fund is one of the most successful “user pays – public benefits” model programs in the world, relying on excise taxes on fishing equipment, electric trolling motors, and motorboat and small engine fuels to fund fisheries conservation and aquatic habitat improvements, fishing and boating access and boating safety. The program generates around $650 million per year and is critical to ensure the state agencies have the funding they need to fulfill their obligations to anglers, boaters, the public, and to conserve our natural resources. The Trust Fund is a key component of the American System of Conservation Funding.
This version of the reauthorization will also authorize a Government Accountability Office report that will examine the increasing use of non-motorized vessels and their impacts on both motorized and non-motorized vessel access, user conflicts at waterway access points, the use of Sport Fish Restoration Program funds to provide non-motorized vessel access and the reasons for providing such access.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?