Bob Wise, Governor
WVDNR Did Not Divert Fish and Wildlife Funding, According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS) has completed its review of a 2001 audit of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources' use of hunting and fishing license revenue and federal grant money, and has determined that money from those sources was not improperly diverted,” according to DNR Director Ed Hamrick . The audit, which had been conducted by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) for the previous seven years, had concluded that WVDNR had improperly diverted as much as $16.8-million in license funds and lost interest money to ineligible law enforcement activities not related to fish and wildlife programs. The decision by USF&WS means that there were $0 (zero dollars) diverted to law enforcement costs.
WVDNR challenged the original conclusion, and in May of 2002 announced that discussions with USF&WS reduced the disputed amount to $8-million. This latest decision by USF&WS to reduce the amount to $0 was based on WVDNR's agreed-upon corrective action plan (CAP) that outlined the steps necessary to ensure future compliance with Federal regulations, and the implementation of a new law enforcement officer activity report form that more accurately represents the time and activities of conservation officers. The new activity report form was applied retroactively to the seven-year audit period to come up with the new amount.
In a letter to DNR Director Ed Hamrick , USF&WS Acting Chief Alberto Ortiz wrote: “The new payroll system has been implemented and meets the requirements of the CAP to successfully resolve the finding. Further, based on the method prescribed in the CAP for recalculating the diversion and our concurrence with the payroll codes used, the recalculated diversion from the law enforcement costs is $0 (zero dollars0).”
If WVDNR had been found in noncompliance, it would have been required to replace the diverted hunting and fishing funds with funding from outside sources, and may have lost approximately $4.5-million in Federal grants annually.
WVDNR's hunting and fishing programs produce an estimated $707-million economic impact to the state's economy annually.
“This audit and resolution has been a time consuming and, at times, f rustrating process, but in the long run it had a positive impact,” said Hamrick. “The new activity report form makes us more accountable to the public and helps us to better budget our time and assets to provide the services they require and expect of us. It also confirms what we have been saying for years about the need for some revenue sources outside of hunting and fishing license sales to pay for the non-fish and wildlife programs we are required to provide.”
Click Here To Return To The Previous Page