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PENNSYLVANIA — Sportsmen and women on both sides of the aisle overwhelmingly want state decision-makers to ensure robust funding for conservation programs that improve, restore water quality and fish habitat, according to a new poll released Wednesday by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) and Public Opinion Strategies.
“This study shows that, regardless of political affiliation, sportsmen and women in the Keystone State are spurred to action by clean water issues that affect our hunting and fishing opportunities,” says Derek Eberly, Pennsylvania field representative for the TRCP. “We’ve always been willing to pay our fair share for conservation, but it’s time to pay a little more.”
Once they were provided with basic information on how it would help conservation, nearly three-quarters of the hunters and anglers polled—74%—said they would agree to increase the state’s fishing license fee, which hasn’t been adjusted in more than a decade despite the rising costs facing the Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC).
Sixty percent of respondents supported the fee increase without any additional information about how the money would be spent.
The primary agency tasked with providing safe access to 86,000 miles of rivers and streams, the PFBC has been forced to scale back conservation efforts and operate with fewer wildlife conservation officers in recent years.
Beyond the price of fishing licenses, 77% of poll respondents who hunt and fish were also willing to pay more in taxes to restore and/or maintain water quality and quantity in Pennsylvania, where healthy in-stream flows support strong fish populations. And 92% of the sportsmen and women polled said state lawmakers should strengthen or maintain the clean water laws and standards currently in place.
Young women and non-white hunters, anglers and voters generally are the biggest supporters of strengthening water quality standards.
For more information on programs, initiatives and how you can become involved, visit www.trcp.org.