Restoration of elk among projects discussed at interims

Colleen Sculley from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service discussed the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program in a Sunday legislative interim meeting focused on the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. She explained that prior to 1937 the nation’s wildlife population was “at an all time low.” After the creation by Congress of the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, and later, the companion Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1952 was passed, she said to date, federal grant funding provided to West Virginia through these acts has totaled $448.32 million. She further said that this funding has restored and conserved over 31 bird species, including doves, eagles, herons, hawks and songbirds; 25 mammal species, including elk, bear and deer; and 12 sport fish species, including bass and trout, in the state. More than $6 million has been provided for elk restoration in southern West Virginia, Sculley said, adding that elk became absent from the state in 1873, but were reintroduced in 2015.