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GLIN==> [fws-news] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases "Birding in the UnitedStates" Report

Richard Greenwood
    USFWS Liaison to USEPA Great Lakes National Program Office
    Team Leader Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Team
Great Lakes National Program Office
77 West Jackson Blvd. (G-17J)
Chicago, IL 60604
Ph:  312-886-3853  Fax:  312-353-2018
Email:  rich_greenwood@fws.gov or greenwood.richard@epa.gov

----- Forwarded by Rich Greenwood/R3/FWS/DOI on 10/28/2003 08:37 AM -----

Contact: Nicholas Throckmorton, 202/208-5636

  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases "Birding in the United States"

A new federal economic report found that 46 million birdwatchers across
America spent $32 billion in 2001 pursuing one of the Nation's most popular
outdoor activities according to a report from the Interior Department's
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The report, Birding in the United States:
A Demographic and Economic Analysis, is the first of its kind analyzing
data from the 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and
Wildlife-Associated Recreation.

"Nearly one in five Americans is a bird watcher," said Service Director
Steve Williams.  "This report recognizes what we always thought to be true.
Birdwatching is very popular and contributes greatly to our economy, so it
is important that we continue to work with our partners to restore and
protect habitat to ensure healthy bird populations."

Montana, Vermont and Wisconsin led the Nation in birding participation
rates as a percent of total State population.  California, New York and
Pennsylvania had the most birders.

Birders spent $32 billion on gear such as binoculars, travel, food and big
ticket items such as canoes, cabins and off-road vehicles.  This spending
generated $85 billion in overall economic output and $13 billion in federal
and state income taxes, and supported more than 863,000 jobs.

To be considered a birdwatcher, an individual must take a trip a mile or
more from home for the primary purpose of observing birds or must closely
observe or try to identify birds around the home. Those who notice birds
while mowing the lawn or picnicking at the beach were not counted as
birders. Trips to zoos and observing captive birds also did not count as
birdwatching. Watching birds around the home is the most common form of
bird-watching.  Taking trips away from home counted for 40 percent (18
million) of birders.

The full report is available on-line at <http://federalaid.fws.gov>.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and
plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System, which encompasses 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small
wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national
fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services
field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the
Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores
nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat
such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation
efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program, which distributes
hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting
equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
      For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
                 visit our homepage at http://www.fws.gov

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