Phoenix, AZ -(AmmoLand.com)- The Arizona Game and Fish Department is grateful for the support of Governor Doug Ducey and the state Legislature in passing Senate Bill 1361, and helping to preserve Arizona’s 16 Heritage Fund properties that are essential to the state’s native wildlife and important habitats.
Sponsored by Senator Gail Griffin, Senate Bill 1361 grants the Arizona Game and Fish Commission the ability to spend a portion of the Heritage Fund monies that are allocated to the department on the operation and maintenance (O&M) of properties that have been, or will be, purchased to support endangered, threatened and sensitive wildlife species.
“Because passive property management is never a sound management approach, it was absolutely critical that the department be given the flexibility to use some of the Heritage Fund monies for operation and maintenance of the 16 properties purchased over the years, and those that will be acquired in the future,” said Commission Chairman Kurt R. Davis. “The cost for operating and maintaining the properties is already in excess of $1 million and growing rapidly as more properties must be purchased as part of the obligations under the Heritage Fund.”
The Heritage Fund was created in 1990 by Arizona’s voters to support wildlife and habitat by directing up to $10 million each year from lottery ticket sales. The department must use a portion of it to acquire properties that further its mission to protect and recover native wildlife species and their habitats.
The department does not receive any state General Funds and previously has used revenue generated from the sale of tags, permits, application and license fees, which comprise the majority of the department’s funding, to pay for the O&M obligation of Heritage-acquired properties.
Examples of ongoing and unanticipated O&M costs include preservation of structural assets, refurbishing agricultural wells, septic system replacement, stabilization of wetlands to reduce permeability, construction of flood control levees, replacement of culverts, removal of exotic vegetation, and control of dangerous fire fuels.
For more information about the department’s Heritage Fund, visit www.azgfd.gov/heritage.
About the Arizona Game and Fish Department:
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is the state agency charged with conserving the entire range of wildlife within our borders, from big game such as elk and deer to smaller mammals, reptiles and fish. The Department is one of the nation’s leading proponents of the “North American Model of Wildlife Conservation,” which relies on sound science, public participation, active habitat management, strict regulation and active law enforcement to sustain wildlife populations.
For more information, visit: www.azgfdportal.az.gov.