Fact Sheet

Fish and Wildlife Agency Funding



NCEL Point of Contact

Ruth Musgrave
Conservation Senior Advisor



State fish and wildlife and other natural resource agencies are experiencing greatly increased responsibilities as a result of habitat loss and degradation, climate change, invasive species, and increased recreation on state and federal public lands. At the same time, fish and wildlife agencies are facing budget shortfalls due to declining hunting and fishing license sales, which have historically provided significant revenue. States are actively seeking new funding sources and opportunities.

Key Points

Key Point 1

Animals and habitat are stressed as never before because of factors such as development, pollution, and climate change. (The Royal Society)

Key Point 2

State fish and wildlife and other agencies are losing funding from state, federal, and license sources. Most agencies’ budgets have fallen 15-40% in recent years. (PHYS.ORG)

Key Point 3

Few funds are designated for nongame wildlife or even endangered species, other than in State Wildlife Action Plans. (Center for Biological Diversity)

Key Point 4

States have begun to examine, recommend and support new funding sources and partners, including a potential federal match for states’ work on habitat and species of greatest conservation need. (North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission)


  • Oregon HB 2402 (2015) -Established a Task Force on Funding Fish, Wildlife and Recreation
  • Oregon HB 2829 (2019) -Established the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund: $1 m with $1 m match for wildlife conservation, outdoor access, agency funding
  • New Mexico SB 312 (2021) – provides $2 million in funding to update the Fish & Game Department to the Wildlife Conservation Department
  • New Hampshire SB 48 (2018) – Required the Fish and Game Commission to study and report on the efficiency


NCEL Resources


Fish and Wildlife Conservation: Agency Relevance and Funding Presentation

November 12, 2019


Oregon Task Force on Funding for Fish, Wildlife, And Related Outdoor Recreation Presentation

August 27, 2017

Online Resources

Report: Oregon Task Force on Fish, Wildlife and Related Outdoor Recreation and Education

A report sent to the Oregon legislature aiming to address the unfunded and increasing costs of conservation and management and related recreational and educational opportunities.

Go to resource
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Future Funding Study - Meridian Institute

A study commissioned by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to develop a list of potential alternative funding sources.

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Recovering America’s Wildlife Act H.R.3742

Federal bill providing funds for the management of species of greatest need as determined by State agencies.

Go to resource
Funding for Fish and Wildlife Conservation - NCEL

Funding for Fish and Wildlife NCEL PowerPoint (2017).

Go to resource
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