ALTHOUGH revenues for game species are raised in a variety of ways, most states do not have a steady and adequate source of funding for nongame wildlife management programs. As a group, bats have especially suffered. But Arizona's creative use of lottery funds has demonstrated
the kind of progress that can be made when funds are available. Now, another creative solution is being proposed on a national level by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
The Wildlife Diversity Funding Initiative would raise funds for state nongame programs by establishing a user fee in the form of a modest surcharge on outdoor recreational equipment, such as binoculars, bird guides, and camping gear. Wildlife enthusiasts in the United States contribute an enormous amount to our economy; equipment expenditures alone total $9.4 billion each year. A surcharge on such goods would help provide funds to all states for research, conservation, and educational efforts for nongame species. A major advantage of adequate funding is the ability to detect and prevent wildlife declines before they reach the critical and most costly stage.
BCI has joined the growing national list of conservation organizations that support this initiative. As a member, you can help support the Wildlife Diversity Funding Initiative by (1) letting outdoor recreational equipment companies know that you favor a modest surcharge on equipment to fund such a program; (2) letting the owner of the store where you buy your equipment know, or attaching a supportive note to your catalogue orders; (3) writing a letter to the editor of any conservation or outdoor recreation magazine voicing your support for a dedicated user fee for conservation; and (4) contacting your state fish and wildlife agency and becoming involved in your own state's coalition to build support for this solution to an urgent national conservation problem.
For more information on the initiative, contact Naomi Edelson, Intl. Assoc. of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, 444 N. Capitol St. NW, Suite 544, Washington, DC 20001.
If we are to prevent declining species from becoming endangered, we must learn more about them and respond to their conservation needs now. Bats like the Arizona myotis
(Myotis lucifugus occultus), a candidate for endangered or threatened listing, are benefitting from new studies.