Friday, November 2, 2018

New Poll: PA Hunters, Anglers Support Robust Funding For Restoring Habitat, Water Quality, Growing Greener

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 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 Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “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 percent-- 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.
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.
Other Results
Beyond the price of fishing licenses, 77 percent 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 percent of the sportsmen and women polled said state lawmakers should strengthen or maintain the clean water laws and standards currently in place.
The results are clear-- there is very little support for relaxing standards--
-- 51 Percent want to strengthen standards (voters generally- 56 percent)
-- 41 Percent want to maintain standards (voters generally- 41 percent)
-- 7 Percent want to relax the standards (voters generally- 3 percent)
Young women and non-white hunters, anglers and voters generally are the biggest supporters of strengthening water quality standards.
With respect to the sources of water pollution, those hunters and anglers polled said--
-- 53 Percent: Agricultural runoff from pesticides and fertilizers
-- 46 Percent: Poorly planned growth and development
-- 44 Percent: Polluted runoff from abandoned mines
-- 39 Percent: Polluted runoff from streets, rooftops
-- 40 Percent: Soil and waste runoff from farms
These numbers are about the same as voters generally.
Other key results:
-- Conservationists: 75 percent of hunters and anglers identify as conservationists
-- Favor Pro-Conservation Elected Officials: 81 percent of Pennsylvania hunters and anglers across the political spectrum have a more favorable opinion of elected officials with pro-conservation views.
-- Habitat, Water Issues Important: 90 percent of voters who hunt and fish say habitat and water issues are important to them as they decide whether or not to support an elected official, with almost no distinction between Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
-- Conservation Issues Of Primary Importance: 37 percent went even further to say that habitat and water issues are of primary importance as they decide whether or not to support an elected official.
-- Growing Greener: 80 percent say they support fully funding the Growing Greener program, which provides grants to restore watersheds, clean up abandoned mines, and plug abandoned oil and gas wells.
Click Here for a copy of the poll.
For more information on programs, initiatives and how you can become involved, visit the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership website.  Questions should be directed to Derek Eberly, Pennsylvania Field Representative, by sending email to:
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