Aquatic stewardship, fishing participation get boost in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A total of $190,000 was recently awarded to 43 organizations, conservation clubs and communities from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to increase aquatic stewardship and sport fishing participation in local communities.

Each year, the ODNR Division of Wildlife offers aquatic education grants to schools, parks and recreation departments, conservation groups, local governments and other nonprofit organizations wanting to sponsor an aquatic or angler education program. Partnering with groups and other agencies exponentially increases the division’s ability to support these programs and reinvest in local communities. Funding for these grants is derived from the federal Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) program. No state tax dollars are used for this activity. This is a user-pay, user-benefit program.

The SFR program is a partnership between federal and state government, industry, anglers and boaters. When anglers purchase rods, reels, fishing tackle, fish finders and motor boat fuel, they pay an excise tax. The federal government collects these taxes, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers and disburses these funds to state fish and wildlife agencies. These funds are used to acquire habitat, produce and stock fish, conduct research and surveys, provide aquatic education to youth, and secure and develop boat accesses.

All Aquatic Education Grant programs must include an opportunity for participants to engage in an aquatic education learning session and provide a hands-on fishing opportunity. Examples include youth fishing camps, family fishing programs and fishing clinics.

Grant applications are accepted for programs ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. Multiple agencies may work cooperatively to conduct a program or event, but only one grant application may be submitted per program. A final report form must be submitted to the ODNR Division of Wildlife upon completion of the program.

Grant guidelines and the application form may be found at or by emailing

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