|New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife|
For more information contact:
Bob Itchmoney at 609-292-0891
In an effort to remain solvent through June 1999, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife will initiate cost saving measures immediately. Reductions were approved by the Fish and Game Council and deemed necessary due to the recent lack of a license increase.
"As these cost saving measures are implemented, the Division will realize more than $459,000 in savings, enough to carry the agency through June of 1999," said New Jersey Fish and Game Council Chairman Charles Suk. "However, it is important to note that these measures may not be necessary if additional funding can be found."
"The Governor's Stable Natural Resource Funding Initiative is an alternative funding source currently under review and would provide the long term financial assistance necessary to manage wildlife habitat as well as provide for recreational use of the resource," said Division Director Bob McDowell.
Until a source of funding is found, short term cost saving measures affecting freshwater fisheries include the elimination of fall trout stocking. The trout slated for fall release were stocked this spring in various locations.
Program cuts regarding wildlife include the elimination of the quail program. In addition, pheasant stocking days will be reduced from three to two days per week (except holidays). A total of 50,000 pheasants will be raised with 10,000 earmarked for sale to generate added income. Additional equipment and vehicle purchases will be severely reduced as well.
Though no lay-offs are planned, key positions within the agency will remain vacant including Assistant Director, Principal Wildlife Biologist, Senior Fisheries Biologist and Conservation Officer. Without sufficient staff, both current and new programs developed for and at the insistence of the sporting community will remain in jeopardy unless an alternative funding source is found.