I just did an article explaining the Pittman-Robertson Act yesterday, and today’s article is based on a report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service detailing accomplishments attributed to the act. I think it’s always nice to read about success stories once in a while. The first example was Kentucky’s efforts to re-establish the elk herds that had been wiped out since the 1850s. The taxes on hunting and fishing equipment from the Dingell-Johnson Act raises over $700 million dollars a year for conservation projects. In Utah, the Division of Wildlife Resources used some of the funding to buy 60,000 acres and start the Tabby Mountain Wildlife Management Area. I would say 60,000 acres is not too shabby at all! The Tabby Mountain and surrounding area is an important migration corridor and home to elk, deer, and greater sage-grouse to name a few species. Recently, the state of Utah also sold a game farm that was going to be rendered practically useless by home development. By using the funds from this sale, the division was able to acquire 5,700 acres from the Allan Smith family. The Allen Smith family could have sold the property for much more, but they were set on making sure the land stayed a wildlife sanctuary. The estimated $125 million dollars received by the division over the years has been used to purchase 40 pieces of property for wildlife habitat management.
I think this article is nice because it actually goes a little into what the tax money is being used for, and that the money isn’t just sitting around or being used for pointless things. I would just make the comment that I think a lot of people think it is good to set aside wildlife habitats, but don’t realize that habitat fragmentation and edge effects are very influential in wildlife conservation. If you set aside a small acreage of land for wildlife, that is nice, but it does very little to help support larger wildlife like elk or jaguars. Large habitats, like the 5,700 acres mentioned earlier, are needed to support larger species and migration corridors.