Under the Dome

State wildlife agency budget axed by Senate

The NC Wildlife Resources Commission would take the biggest cut in its 65-year history under the budget proposed by the state Senate.

The Senate is proposing a 49 percent cent in the agency that oversees programs, research and management related to wildlife conservative, hunting, fishing recreational boating and urban wildlife.

“We are extremely disappointed,' said Tim Gestwicki, CEO of North Carolina Wildlife Federation, a non-profit conservation organization. “This comes without warning and with zero communications with the state agency with regards to impacts or implications of General statutes.''

The Senate has proposed cutting the commission's $18 million budget to $9 million. In reaction, the agency has put on hold 120 ongoing projects. Slashed would be services such as law enforcement and widely used facilities for boating and fishing access areas, game lands, shooting ranges, community fishing sites and fish hatcheries.

The agency manages 2 million acres of public game lands, 49 lakes and ponds, 31 dams, 73 waterfowl impoundments, 1,878 miles of roads, six fish hatcheries that produce 7 million fish annually, 58 public fishing areas, and 211 public boating access areas.

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