National Fish & Wildlife Conservation Congress

Funding and Incentives

Question 1. Is there anything that you would change about your vision?

Original Vision:
Long-term, sustainable, diverse and equitable funding and incentives are secured and available for the conservation of fish and wildlife..

Revised Vision:
Sustainable, adequate funding is available for the conservation of fish and wildlife which provides for its habitat and sustainable use.

Question 2: What is preventing your vision from being achieved?

  • Funding
    • Current and future funding is not guaranteed
    • Reduced government funding and staff cuts
    • Lack of dedicated government funds and consistency
    • Economic restraints means reduced disposable income for many
    • Competition for a finite amount of resources is often uncoordinated with large amounts of time being invested in competing for funding
    • Need to determine how much funding is needed
    • Many provinces do not have dedicated funding
    • Provisions with clear guidelines are not in place for determining how funding should be directed
  • Education
    • Need to reach a broader spectrum of society so that it is not always the same people attending meetings, etc.
    • Lack of public knowledge regarding incentive mechanisms available to generate revenue (e.g., voluntary donation on tax form)
    • Lack of understanding of the benefits of ecological goods and services
  • Collaboration
    • Lack of engagement from diverse demographics (e.g., urbanization)
    • Lack of consistent and unified voice that can deliver messages in a convincing (personal/defendable) way to all user groups (top down and bottom up)
    • Lack of unity (fragmentation)
  • Planning
    • Need for proactive rather than reactive approach
  • Policy
    • Lack of a Canadian equivalent to the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act
    • Short-term government mandates
  • Other
    • Provincial "opt out" clause
    • Non-consumptive users do not pay
    • Reluctance of government to create new taxes and/or to redirect existing taxes
    • Habitat conservation could be a unifying issue (common ground) that a broad range of groups could present to both consumptive and non-consumptive users
    • Relevancy of fish and wildlife conservation in comparison to other government priorities such as health care, education and infrastructure

Question 3: What are the opportunities for achieving your vision? Brainstorm a list of recommendations?

  • Funding
    • Develop innovative financial mechanisms
      • Tax reform
      • Seek out private and corporate investments (be more assertive)
    • Endowments (endowed professorships)
  • Education
    • Creating will and need (social and political) to attract resources, including:
      • Selling the natural heritage vision
      • Creating a common understanding and common language around conservation
      • Educating youth about regional and North American conservation issues (conservation ethics)
      • Integrating conservation and environmental issues into educational curriculums
    • Need to become more mainstream (e.g., use social media, celebrity endorsements and improve the public to the health benefits that result from more funding for fish and wildlife conservation)
    • Change perception about hunting and fishing
    • Prove that renewable resources can generate a return on investment
    • Share success stories and promote our accomplishments
  • Collaboration
    • Need for strong, professional coalition/membership-based non-governmental organizations
    • Need to connect with industry
    • Recruit non-traditional industries to support fish and wildlife conservation
    • Focus on themes where there is common support with the goal to expand the coalition
  • Planning
    • Need to think "BIG" and more strategically beyond the traditional partnerships and media forums
    • Develop a solid short- and long-term business plan and awareness campaign with popular messaging, key deliverables, etc., to increase the relevancy of fish and wildlife conservation
    • Identify longer term commitments
      • Impact benefit agreements
      • Resource extraction mitigative measures dedicated to fish and wildlife funding
    • Develop more effective and inclusive outreach programs for families to participate in fishing and hunting activities and/or to experience the benefits of funding fish and wildlife conservation
    • Plan research and communicate results
    • Succession planning for outdoor professionals
    • Improve accountability
    • Explain what has been done to date and how it has benefitted Canadians
  • Policy
    • Implement a "user pay" system
    • Create an outdoor "bill of rights"

Question 4: From your brainstorming list, what are the top five recommendations for advancing your vision?

1. Form a strong, diverse and effective coalition of fish and wildlife user and non-user groups to chart the future course of fish and wildlife conservation in Canada, including the sustainable and adequate funding considering both "user pay" and other potential public funding solutions.

2. Develop a solid business plan responsive to the Funding and Incentives vision that includes at a minimum:

  • coordination between private sector and government
  • return on investment with transparency and accountability
  • real or model legislation dedicated to fish and wildlife funding that is applicable to all provinces and territories. Initiatives would be designed to attract a broad base of financial support and would consider existing U.S. models - both failed and successful including:
    • Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act
    • Dingell-Johnson Act
    • Missouri model - % of state tax
    • Conservation and Reinvestment Act
    • Land and Water Conservation Fund

Other models would include those providing funds or proceeds to fish and wildlife from energy extraction, corporate income to projects maintaining Canadian identity or for mitigation from energy development (dams, power lines, wind farms, etc.).

3. Develop an education and outreach plan and network for sharing ideas and program resources with a strong argument for how fish and wildlife conservation benefits every single human being on this planet.

Question 5: For each of your five recommendations, what role do governments, First Nations, non-governmental organizations, private sector, communities and landowners play in advancing your vision?

Not completed - insufficient time

Federal Government Role

Provincial Government Role

Non-governmental Organizations

Private Sector

First Nations