Fish and Game needs a funding source
To the editor:
It seems like everyone is talking about canoe and kayak decals these days. I am writing in response to the volume of public comment the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has received recently following news reports about the recommendations of the Commission on Fish and Game Department Sustainability. One of several possible revenue sources it recommended considering was a non-motorized watercraft decal. In fact, no laws have been passed or decisions made yet on that or other ideas for generating future funding.
The commission is a legislative body established last year to look at the funding gap between what the Department takes in and the revenue we need to fulfill all of our obligations to the residents and guests of New Hampshire. In spite of significant reductions in personnel over the last three biennial budgets, rising costs are still outpacing revenue. This gap is a serious problem, and time is short. Unless something changes, the Fish and Game Fund will be depleted by the end of this biennium (June 30, 2015). Given our mission of conserving the state’s fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats, it would be irresponsible for us to sit back and do nothing.
What’s at stake are the services people across the state count on the Fish and Game Department to provide, from managing wildlife populations to rescuing hikers, stocking fish and building boat ramps. It takes financial resources for the Fish and Game Department to do its job properly.
The citizens of New Hampshire care deeply about the state’s fish and wildlife, land conservation, and access to public waters. Fish and Game is the agency that protects and maintains these valued resources, which not only have significant intrinsic value in their own right, but are a powerful economic engine for New Hampshire. Hunting, fishing and wildlife watching alone contribute approximately $550 million annually to the economy of the state.