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Apr 26 -- The Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Interior, invites comments by June 27, 2022 on the 2022 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (FHWAR).

The information collected for the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (FHWAR) assists the Fish and Wildlife Service in administering the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration grant programs. The 2022 FHWAR survey will provide up-to-date information on the uses and demands for wildlife-related recreation resources and a basis for developing and evaluating programs and projects to meet existing and future needs.

We collect the information in conjunction with carrying out our responsibilities under the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act (16 U.S.C. 777-777m) and the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act (16 U.S.C. 669-669i). Under these acts, as amended, we provide approximately $1 billion in grants annually to States for projects that support sport fish and wildlife management and restoration, including:

Improvement of fish and wildlife habitats,
Fishing and boating access,
Fish stocking, and
Hunting and fishing opportunities.

We also provide grants for aquatic education and hunter education, maintenance of completed projects, and research into problems affecting fish and wildlife resources. These projects help to ensure that the American people have adequate opportunities for fish and wildlife recreation. We conduct the survey about every 5 years. The 2022 FHWAR survey will be the 14th conducted since 1955. We sponsor the survey at the States' request, which is made through the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. We contract with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, which collects the information using internet, telephone, or mail-in paper-and-pencil instrument (PAPI).

Respondents are invited to take the survey with a mailed letter. NORC will select a sample of sportspersons and wildlife watchers from a household screen and conduct three detailed interviews during the survey year. The survey collects information on the number of days of participation, species of animals sought, and expenditures for trips and equipment. Information on the characteristics of participants includes age, income, sex, education, race, and State of residence. The Wave 3 Freshwater/Saltwater Ratio Questionnaire is designed to get freshwater and saltwater fishing data for coastal states. The Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program is required to divide fishing management funds according to the ratio of freshwater and saltwater anglers in each coastal state.

Federal and State agencies use information from the survey to make policy decisions related to fish and wildlife restoration and management. Participation patterns and trend information help identify present and future needs and demands. Land management agencies use the data on expenditures and participation to assess the value of wildlife-related recreational uses of natural resources. Wildlife-related recreation expenditure information is used to estimate the impact on the economy and to support the dedication of tax revenues for fish and wildlife restoration programs.

The 2022 FHWAR does not currently include the questions on birdwatching participation and days of participation that had been asked in previous rounds of the FHWAR. However, due to high interest in the birdwatching data, we are submitting an amendment to add these questions to the survey. These questions will be included in Wave 3 and will ask about participation in birdwatching and days of participation for the 12-month reference period of 2022. The sample will not be affected and will be the same across modes.

Below are the questions we will add to the Wave 3 wildlife watching questionnaire:

Last year (from January 1 to December 31, 2022), did you closely observe or try to identify birds around your home, meaning the area within a 1-mile radius of your home?
Last year (from January 1 to December 31, 2022), on how many days did you closely observe or try to identify birds around your home?
Last year (from January 1 to December 31, 2022), on your wildlife watching trips or outings within the United States, did you closely observe birds?
Last year (from January 1 to December 31, 2022), on how many days did you closely observe birds on your wildlife watching trips or outings within the United States?
 
Recent FHWAR reports: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/fhwar.html
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-08763

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