|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 31, 2003
Katie Ford (ENV)
ROMNEY SIGNS BILL TO RESTORE INLAND FISH AND GAME FUND
New law will keep federal aid flowing to Bay State wildlife efforts
In a move that will preserve more than $4 million in federal matching funds, Governor Mitt Romney today signed into law a measure to restore the Inland Fish and Game Fund, a sportsmen- and women-funded account that helps fund the state’s wildlife restoration and maintenance efforts.
“The future of wildlife funding in Massachusetts is secure with the signing of this bill into law,” said Romney. “These funds will continue to benefit all Massachusetts citizens as we work to promote strong environmental stewardship and recreation.”
This year’s budget eliminated the Inland Fish and Game Fund as a dedicated fund. After learning that this change could jeopardize federal funding for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Romney filed legislation to restore the fund.
“I would like to thank Governor Romney and the Legislature for taking this action to preserve the Inland Fish and Game Fund and assure the continuation of the management and conservation of the Commonwealth’s wildlife and fisheries resources,” said George Darey, Chairman of the Fisheries and Wildlife Board.
The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has historically received about 90 percent of its operating budget from the Inland Fish and Game Fund. This funding has contributed to the conservation and management of the state’s wild plant and animal heritage, which were at a dangerously low level a century ago. Today, the state’s deer population exceeds 80,000, black bear number almost 2,000, the wild turkey has been restored and the bald eagle has returned from the brink of extinction. In 2002, the state returned 300,000 shad to the Commonwealth’s rivers and stocked 500,000 trout.