R.I. gets $6M in federal money for conservation projects

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – U.S. Senator Jack Reed announced Monday nearly $6 million in federal funding to help pay for conservation projects.

Reed says the money is generated from a tax on fishing and hunting gear, and protected from budget cuts taking place on Capitol Hill.

"A long time ago my colleagues were wise enough to figure out the connection, and actually the communities - the fishing community and the hunting community - endorsed this 70 years ago, and still endorse it," says Reed.

What is in danger of being eliminated, says Reed, is a $95 million program in federal grants given to states to help with wildlife management. He says the House bill eliminates that funding.

Of the $6 million heading to Rhode Island, almost half of the funds will go toward the state's sport fish restoration program with the rest funding wildlife management areas.

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Managment Director Janet Coit says the federal funding is critical.

"They really fund our core operations when it comes to managing wildlife habitat, providing public access, so they're fundamental to our program," says Coit.

The DEM says 70 percent of its fish and wildlife programs are funded with federal dollars.

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