Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator
Why It Matters: States without a dedicated conservation funding mechanism, like Louisiana, often leave millions of dollars on the table because they cannot provide the match funding to qualify for federal conservation programs. If Louisiana established a dedicated conservation funding source, however, the state could leverage significantly more federal funds to implement conservation programs that benefit fish and wildlife resources and the sportsmen and women of “Sportsmen’s Paradise.”
Investing in conservation is important for supporting Louisiana’s outdoor heritage. While Louisiana’s sportsmen and women, who last year contributed $43.21 million to conservation funding through hunting and fishing license and excise taxes on sporting related goods, the “user pays – public benefits” structure known as the American System of Conservation Funding, are the primary funders of conservation in the state, Louisiana’s hunters and anglers would benefit from an increased investment in conservation.
Last year, the Louisiana State Legislature adopted House Concurrent Resolution 55, which was also authored by Representative Jerome Zeringue, that established the Outdoor Conservation Study Group (Study Group). The Study Group was tasked with evaluating and making recommendations on potential dedicated conservation funding mechanisms for Louisiana to establish. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) Southeastern States Coordinator, Mark Lance, attended the Study Group’s November meeting and provided testimony on the benefits of dedicated conservation funding.
The Louisiana Outdoor Forever Program was born as a result of the findings of the Study Group. This program would provide critical funding for board-approved projects that would improve fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, and recreational properties important for public access, including hunting and fishing. Louisiana is known as the “Sportsman’s Paradise” for a reason, and every effort should be made to ensure that the abundant outdoor recreation opportunities that Louisiana provides are conserved for future generations.
HB 742 awaits action in the House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment, and HB 406 awaits action in the House Committee on Appropriations.
CSF will continue to work with the Caucus as well as in-state and national partners to support the establishment of the Louisiana Outdoor Forever Program.
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?