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Wildlife restoration projects garner $749M

WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- More than $749 million in excise tax revenues were distributed to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies Wednesday, the U.S. Interior Department said.

"Hunters and anglers have provided the foundation for wildlife conservation in America for more than 75 years. They continue to provide dedicated, critical funding for fish and wildlife agencies across the nation, especially at a time when many state budgets are under pressure," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Wednesday in a release. "These funds will support important fish and wildlife management and conservation, recreational boating access, and hunter and aquatic education programs."

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The agencies receive the funds through the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration and Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration programs.

The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program apportionment for 2011 is more than $384 million, of which $79 million is targeted for hunter education and safety programs, the department said. The Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program 2011 apportionment totals nearly $365 million, of which nearly $55 million is for recreational boating access facilities.

The umbrella U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's restoration program reimburses up to 75 percent of the cost of all eligible projects while state fish and wildlife agencies contribute a minimum of 25 percent, usually through hunting and fishing license revenues.

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