DWR Habitat Council Allocates $3.4 Million to 2024 Habitat Restoration Projects

DWR Habitat Council Allocates $3.4 Million to 2024 Habitat Restoration Projects

Roughly $3.4 million was allocated to selected habitat restoration projects at the recent annual Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Habitat Council funding meeting on April 30.

The DWR Habitat Council was created in 1995 by the Utah Legislature as a way to provide funds for fish and wildlife conservation that are specifically used to:

  • Enhance fish and wildlife habitat
  • Preserve and protect habitat
  • Manage and acquire new habitat areas for fish and wildlife
  • Improve hunting and fishing access

These funds are a portion of the revenue from license, permit and certificate of registration fees related to hunting and fishing.

The Habitat Council consists of eight individuals who act as an advisory board. They provide recommendations regarding the use of the funds received annually each year from the sales of hunting and fishing licenses. Members include four public representatives and four DWR or Department of Natural Resources employees.

“We appreciate the hunters and anglers who truly are the backbone of wildlife conservation,” DWR Habitat Conservation Coordinator Daniel Eddington said. “Anyone who buys a hunting and fishing license helps fund many of the crucial habitat restoration projects that help to maintain fish and wildlife populations for future generations to enjoy. Providing the necessary habitat for these species is crucial to their survival and requires ongoing restoration efforts as climate conditions continue to shift.”

The funding available to the Habitat Council from this year’s fishing and hunting license sales totaled a little over $3.4 million and will help fund 79 projects over the next fiscal year (from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025). Several high-priority fish and wildlife projects will be funded during the upcoming fiscal year, including:

  • Maintenance and improvements on wildlife management areas across the state: There are 194 wildlife and waterfowl management areas in Utah. These state-owned and -managed properties help to conserve critical habitats for wildlife, help minimize and mitigate wildlife depredation on private property and provide anglers and hunters — who provide funding for the WMAs through the purchase of a fishing or hunting license — a place to hunt and fish in Utah. This project received over $916,000 of the total funding.
  • Utah Lake North Marina Harbor project: This is phase one of a larger project to construct a new, accessible marina on the northwest side of Utah Lake. This first phase of the project will include building a fishing jetty and boat launch. This project received $400,000 in funding.
  • Parowan Front Maple Hollow Lop and Scatter project: This project will include the removal of pinyon-juniper trees on 1,237 acres to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and to provide more beneficial plants for deer and other wildlife in the area. This project received $119,700 in funding.
  • Strawberry River Restoration project: This is the second phase of this project and aims to continue to restore roughly 12 miles of the river after it was damaged by the 2018 Dollar Ridge and Pole Creek fires. This project received $111,500 in funding.

“We are extremely grateful for other partners who help fund these projects as well, which are so critical for fish and wildlife,” Eddington said. “We wouldn’t be able to complete as many of these necessary conservation projects without these important partnerships.”

Since 2006, the Habitat Council program has:

  • Allocated over $44.3 million to complete 1,506 wildlife habitat projects across Utah
  • Improved over 371,187 acres of terrestrial habitat
  • Restored 2,008 miles of streams and rivers
  • Acquired 28,358 acres of land and waterways — now managed by the state or placed under permanent conservation easements — for fish and wildlife

The recent Habitat Council funds are in addition to the:

Both the Habitat Council and the Conservation Permit Program funding programs coordinate with Utah’s Watershed Restoration Initiative, a Utah Department of Natural Resources partnership-based program, which serves as a centralized portal for funding and tracking the completion of these habitat-related projects.