While many people are familiar with the United States Census every 10 years as mandated by the Constitution, over 100 different surveys are conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau each year. SBB Research Group summarizes vital information from Census.gov about these lesser-known—but significant—surveys in this educational series.
What is the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (FHWAR)?
The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (FHWAR) provides information on participation and spending related to fishing, hunting, and other wildlife-related activities. The survey is funded by the Multistate Conservation Grant Program and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau under an interagency agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior). The FHWAR is a national survey and provides state results for Maine, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Virginia. Detailed information includes the number of participants, where and how often they participate, the type of wildlife encountered, and the amount of money spent on wildlife-related recreation.
How is the Data Used?
In the 2016 survey, 104 million residents sixteen years and older participated in wildlife-related activities: 35.8 million were anglers, 11.5 million were hunters, and 86 million were wildlife watchers (closely observing, feeding, and photographing wildlife). Hunters and anglers each spent $12 billion on equipment, and wildlife watchers spent $55 billion. This spending creates thousands of jobs, supports numerous local communities, and provides vital funding for conservation.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service creates reports, brochures, news releases and other communications about current use and trend information from the survey results. In addition, other organizations within the federal government, such as land and water development agencies, use the data on participation rates, animal species sought, and types of resources used to formulate policies and programs related to recreational fish and wildlife uses.
Federal regulatory, permitting, and environmental agencies rely on the economic data to estimate the damage to fish and wildlife resources and determine the costs and benefits of projects affecting natural resources. State fish and wildlife agencies use the survey data for program planning, development, management, and evaluation. Other non-federal conservation organizations, researchers, and trade and manufacturing associations rely on the FHWAR data for research and planning.