Department of Environmental Conservation

Management of the Conservation Fund

New York State's Conservation Fund is managed by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Fund revenue comes primarily from the sale of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses. According to State law, this revenue should only be used to support the State's fish, wildlife and marine resources. We examined whether the Department's use of Fund revenue has been consistent with the law, and found that it has been. In addition, since the Department proposed raising license fees by about 20 percent to cover a projected Fund deficit, we examined the reasonableness of the Department's projected Fund revenues and expenditures. We found that the Department underestimated the Fund's cash balance, did not account for certain factors that could affect the Fund balance, and could improve fee collections by making certain improvements in its operating practices and internal controls. We conclude that, while actions need to be taken to ensure that the Fund does not incur a deficit, an increase in license fees is not the only option available to State policymakers. We recommend that all the available options be given consideration.

For a complete copy of Report 99-S-29 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.