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Division of Fish & Wildlife Funding

  • American System of Conservation Funding Infographic text:

    Users purchase equipment, licenses, and fuel. Excise taxes and license fees are collected. Funds are collected through excise taxes by manufacturers and importers of hunting, fishing, and shooting equipment and some boats, as well as boaters paying fuel taxes and the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service allocates funds. State agencies receive grants. State agency spends on projects (fish and wildlife conservation, access to public lands and waters, education programs, land acquisition, facilities construction, operations and maintenance.) Everyone receives benefits (sustainable fish and wildlife populations, protection of critical habitat, land open to the public for outdoor recreation, opportunities for hunting, fishing, shooting, wildlife watching, hiking, boating, and more.)

The Division of Fish & Wildlife is funded by a combination of state and federal funding. On the state side, our largest source of revenue is the sale of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses. All license sale revenue is used to manage fish and wildlife resources in Indiana. Much of this money is used as match, or a required contribution, to receive federal funds from the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration program. This program is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is funded by excise taxes paid by manufacturers and importers of hunting, fishing, and shooting equipment as well as on some boats and boat fuel.

Together, the state and federal funding sources described below allow us to conduct a variety of work including fish and wildlife research, habitat restoration, maintenance of fish & wildlife areas and public access sites, hunter and angler education, technical assistance to private landowners, and much more. You can support conservation efforts in Indiana by buying a license or donating to the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund.

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Federal funding sources are denoted with an (F). State funding sources are denoted with an (S). The majority of division funding comes from federal Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration grants and license sales.

  • Division of Fish & Wildlife Funding pie chart text:
    • Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration (F) 47%
    • License Fund (S) 29%
    • Lake and River Enhancement (S) 7%
    • Capital/Preventative Maintenance (S) 5%
    • Aquatic Invasive Species (F) 5%
    • Farm Bill Programs (F) 3%
    • State Wildlife Grants (F) 3%
    • Nongame Wildlife Fund (S) 0.57%
    • Endangered Species Grants (F) 0.40%

State Funding

  • License Fund
    • Source: Funds received from the Division’s sale of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses.
    • Amount: $9.3 million in 2020
    • What do we do with it? All license revenue is used for managing fish and wildlife resources in Indiana; it is frequently used as match on our federal grants or to cover costs of non-grant work.
  • Capital Improvements (CRR) and Preventative Maintenance (PM)
    • Source: State general fund
    • Amount: $1.5 million annually
    • What do we do with it? Funds are spent on maintenance of buildings, vehicles, and equipment. Additional funds are set aside for emergencies due to natural disaster or other unexpected event.
  • Lake and River Enhancement Program (LARE)
    • Source: Motorized boat registration fees
    • Amount: $2.4 million annually
    • What do we do with it? The Division awards LARE grants to the public for projects including restoration, sediment and logjam removal, watershed planning, invasive aquatic vegetation removal, and more. Learn more about LARE.
  • Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund
    • Source: Donations from the public, tax check-off
    • Amount: $183,000 in 2020
    • What do we do with it? Money in this fund is used for the conservation of Indiana’s Species of Greatest Conservation Need and is frequently used as match for federal State Wildlife Grants. Learn more about the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund.
  • Contributions from Partners

    The Division uses contributions from a wide network of partners, including universities, non-profit organizations, corporations, and other agencies. These funds are often used as match for federal grants or to help accomplish large-scale projects like land acquisitions.

Federal Funding

  • Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR)
    • Source: WSFR funds are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and are split between the states based on number of license holders and land and water area in the state. For Wildlife Restoration, money comes from excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment. For Sportfish Restoration, money comes from excise taxes on fishing equipment like rods, reels, and tackle as well as boat motors and motorboat and small engine fuel.
    • Amount: $16.8 million ($11.5 million Wildlife Restoration and $5.3 million Sportfish Restoration) in 2021
    • What do we do with it? WSFR grants make up the bulk of the Division’s federal funding, and are used for a wide variety of projects including habitat management on Fish & Wildlife areas, wildlife research projects, hunter and angler education, outreach and communications efforts, and providing technical assistance to Hoosiers. Learn more about the WSFR program on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s website.
  • State Wildlife Grants (SWG)
    • Source: SWG funds are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and are split between the states based on a formula using the state’s population and total geographical area.
    • Amount: $963,000 in 2021
    • What do we do with it? Through SWG grants, the Division can monitor and conduct research on Indiana’s Species of Greatest Conservation Need or their habitat, as well as revise our State Wildlife Action Plan.
  • Endangered Species Grants
    • Source: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers a grant program authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act.
    • Amount: $130,000 in 2021
    • What do we do with it? With these funds, the Division partners with universities and other organizations to conduct research projects on Indiana’s threatened and endangered species.
  • Aquatic Invasive Species Grants

    • Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant programs
    • Amount: $1.5 million in 2021
    • What do we do with it? These grants fund research and management of aquatic invasive species including early detection, abundance and distribution, and control and containment.
  • Farm Bill Programs
    • Source: Natural Resources Conservation Service, authorized by the Farm Bill
    • Amount: $1 million annually
    • What do we do with it? The Division receives funding through various Farm Bill programs to help implement voluntary conservation practices on private lands in Indiana. These conservation actions often involve habitat enhancement targeted toward specific wildlife species and habitat types or recreational access opportunities.

Historical License Sales

Historical license sales for Indiana (and all states) can be found at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website. Detailed license sales by license type are not available prior to 2006, when the Division of Fish & Wildlife implemented the electronic license system.

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