People and Wildlife

Who is Responsible for Wildlife?

By law, Iowa wildlife belongs to everyone. This means that even when lands or waters are privately owned, the free ranging wildlife living on them is not.

Wildlife is held in trust for everyone in the state. Everyone has a vested interest in wildlife. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Iowa DNR) is the primary agency responsible for maintaining state parks and forests, protecting the environment, and managing energy, fish, wildlife, and land and water resources in the state. Iowa DNR works with federal agencies, other state agencies, county government, and private organizations and individuals to manage wildlife resources for all Iowans.

Laws

Who Pays for Wildlife Programs?

Hunters and anglers historically have financed the greatest share of fish and wildlife management programs through purchase of licenses, tags, stamps, and habitat fees as well as excise taxes paid on equipment. These fund most Iowa DNR wildlife programs. Sources of funding for wildlife agencies determine, to varying degrees, program priorities and objectives.

Licenses and Fees

Wildlife Restoration Act

Stamps

Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Act

Nongame Funding

The Wildlife Diversity Program was formed in 1981. It was funded through the sale of Nongame Support Certificates (collectible photographs of Iowa’s’ nongame wildlife) and voluntary contributions made through the “Chickadee Checkoff” on state income tax forms. A need for stable, predictable funding developed and alternate funding sources were identified.

Conservation Groups

Private conservation organizations get most of their funding from membership fees, donations, grants, and sales of wildlife-featured items. These organizations are critical partners in wildlife conservation. Jump to the Iowa Resources page for a listing of state conservation organizations and agencies!

Importance of Wildlife

People have utilized wildlife throughout the ages. Prehistoric people, Native Americans, and Euro-American settlers depended on wildlife for food, clothing, and even shelter. Wildlife is often a part of many Native American religious ceremonies.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity describes a variety of natural systems (ecosystem diversity), the number of different species in a given area (species diversity), or variety within individual living things (genetic diversity). Also, see the earlier sections on habitat restoration and reintroductions.

Recreation

People have always been dependent on wildlife. They used wildlife for food, clothing, shelter, utensils, medicines, and religious objects throughout history. In the United States, wildlife now is more important for recreation. Food and fur are still important products of hunting and trapping, but many value being outdoors and/or hunting with friends as much as, or more than, gathering food.

Aesthetic and Ethical Value

Other wildlife values are less tangible than maintaining stable ecosystems or providing recreation. If wildlife had no other value it would still be worth preserving for its sheer beauty and appeal to the human spirit.

What You Can Do To Help Wildlife

Think Habitat! Wildlife populations are limited by the availability of quality habitat. Anything that helps habitat, helps wildlife! Following are just a few ways individuals can get involved:

Learn About Wildlife and Make Some Connections

Educational seminars, programs, special events and workshops about wildlife are offered by numerous agencies.

Join a conservation organization. See the list of conservation groups listed above. These organizations provide opportunities to participate in wildlife conservation through local wildlife projects, volunteering, fund-raising events, or other activities.

Private Land Management

The Iowa DNR, CCB’s, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and private consulting businesses can help landowners with programs that protect and/or enhance wildlife habitat.

Political Advocacy

You can become active politically to support wildlife.

Help Your Conservation Officer

Obey all wildlife laws.

Landscape for Wildlife

Windbreaks, flower gardens, and food plots can provide cover, nesting sites, and food for wildlife.

Careers

 

Activities listed below are from the Project WILD guide and relevant to Iowa. Activities with supplemental information are linked below. Use the supplemental information in conjunction with the Project WILD activity.