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    The Heritage Fund: What its loss will mean to Arizona - Desert Rat - The Premier Hunting and Fishing Blog of the Southwest!

    The Heritage Fund: What its loss will mean to Arizona

    This is serious, serious stuff. I encourage all Arizonans to stay on top of this issue, contact your legislators, and do what you can to spread the word. ~DesertRat

    The Heritage Fund: What its loss will mean to Arizona

    Feb. 1, 2010

    Public invited to Game and Fish presentation and webcast on Feb. 2

    The Arizona Game and Fish Department will host a public presentation and live webcast tomorrow evening (Tuesday, Feb. 2) to discuss the potential ramifications to Arizona from a proposed elimination of the Heritage Fund.

    In mid-January the Governor’s office released a budget plan that proposes to permanently eliminate the department’s voter-approved Heritage Fund and redirect all Arizona State Lottery revenue to the state’s general fund. That proposal has been sent for consideration by the Legislature.

    “Adoption of this proposal could have significant impacts on Arizona’s land use and growth that will be vital for the state’s economic recovery, as well as affecting outdoor recreationists and the future well being of the state’s wildlife,” said Deputy Director Bob Broscheid. “We acknowledge the difficulties the state faces in addressing the budget situation, but we owe it to the public to inform and educate on what this could mean to them.”

    Arizona Game and Fish is a “business-model” agency reliant wholly on non-tax dollars. It is critical that the customers who pay the bills in this “user pay, user benefit” model understand the potential statewide economic effects that could result from a permanent elimination of Heritage funding. Those effects potentially include constraints on land use that could affect our state’s economic recovery.

    The approximately 30-minute presentation will start at 6 p.m. at the department’s Phoenix office at 5000 W. Carefree Highway (1.5 miles west of I-17). The public is invited to attend the presentation or view it live over the Internet at www.azgfd.gov/webcast.

    The seminar, presented by Broscheid, will cover the history of the Heritage Fund, what it’s used for, how it benefits wildlife, its many success stories, and the impacts to wildlife, land access and Arizona citizens if the fund is lost.

    After the presentation, an interactive question-and-answer session with the public will take place. Online viewers can submit questions for consideration via an e-mail link at www.azgfd.gov/webcast.

    Passed as an initiative in 1990 by an overwhelming 2-1 bipartisan ratio of Arizona voters, the Heritage Fund provides up to $10 million each year from lottery ticket sales for the conservation and protection of the state’s wildlife and natural areas. The Arizona Game and Fish Department receives no general tax revenue and the Heritage Fund is one of the department’s primary funding sources. The Heritage Fund makes a difference in communities across Arizona and benefits all citizens

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    One Response to “The Heritage Fund: What its loss will mean to Arizona”

    1. Desert Rat Says:

      Loss of this funding would affect Arizona in many ways:

      • Without the department representing the state’s interests as the voice of reason at the table, federal agencies and special interest groups with a penchant for litigation will have ever-increasing influence on Arizona’s wildlife, land use and water policy decisions – with the potential for increased restrictions to renewable energy, home and business development, and outdoor recreation.

      • Without funding to obtain good biological data, it is likely more wildlife species will be federally listed and the cost to manage and mitigate for them would increase.

      • Programs that directly affect Arizona’s sportsmen, including law enforcement, public land access, game and sportfish management, habitat enhancement and shooting ranges, would be reduced, and revenues from hunters and anglers would have to be stretched once again (as they were before the Heritage Fund came into being) to help meet the critical needs of all wildlife.

      • The department would lose its primary funding mechanism for the recovery and conservation of the state’s most imperiled wildlife, including the bald eagle, California condor, black-footed ferret, Apache trout and Gila trout, jeopardizing the success of many species conservation programs.

      • The state would lose some of its ability to leverage Federal monies that directly benefit rural businesses and improve watersheds, wildlife habitat and rangeland.

      • Ranchers throughout the state would lose the benefit of clean-up programs, public land access management and range and land improvements.

      • Urban wildlife programs that help people deal with nuisance wildlife or to appreciate backyard wildlife would be severely curtailed.

      • The department’s ability to enhance wildlife viewing opportunities and other outdoor recreation programs would be cut back significantly.

      • Department biologists would no longer be able to offer urban planners and developers relevant biological data to help guide them in making sustainable land use decisions that include wildlife considerations.

      • The department’s Heritage grant program – which has awarded 640 grants totaling $12 million since the early ‘90s — would be eradicated, which in turn would eliminate a funding source for wildlife conservation, outdoor recreation and environmental education projects that benefit local communities statewide.

      Did you know?

      • If the Heritage Fund were lost, Game and Fish would reduce or eliminate programs that generate $2.3 billion in total expenditures on wildlife-related recreation in Arizona.

      • Heritage funding has contributed nearly 18,000 acres for public enjoyment, wildlife conservation and establishment of wildlife areas statewide and maintains access to over 2 million acres of land for outdoor recreation.

      • The Department uses Heritage Fund dollars to help manage more than 800 native wildlife species.

      • The Heritage Fund has provided environmental education programs in the schools initially through Project Wild and now through Focus Wild AZ, which is a Web-based K-12 curriculum.

      • With the help of the Heritage Fund, a highly successful voluntary non-lead ammunition and hunter outreach program was implemented to enhance California condor conservation.

      • With the help of the Heritage Fund, Native Apache trout have been down-listed to a threatened species and recovered to a point that allows fishing opportunities and are on the verge of becoming the first native fish in the nation to come off the endangered species list.

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