Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), the committee’s ranking member, are co-sponsoring Senate Bill 834 to reauthorize the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, a benefit to millions of anglers and recreational boaters since 1950.

The program raises approximately $600 million per year through collection of user fees on fishing tackle and equipment, motorboat fuel, imported boats and fishing equipment, and small engines.

The money in the fund is then divided among federal and state programs for boating safety and infrastructure, fishery management, habitat conservation, and related programs and activities.

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Last year, South Dakota received $17,835,269 from the fund. The initial act from 1950 has been amended several times, but is still known as the Dingell-Johnson Act fund for Congressman John Dingell of Michigan and Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado, both outdoor enthusiasts.

The bill, which would reauthorize the Dingell-Johnson Act through fiscal year 2023, was set for consideration by the Commerce Committee on Wednesday.

“This program helps ensure our natural water resources receive needed care so that they remain available for the use and enjoyment of generations to come,” Thune said in a news release. “Sport fishermen and recreational boaters value and support this trust fund that allocates funds to protect wetlands, restore fisheries, and support a national recreational boating safety program.”

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