There is hereby created in the state treasury the nongame and endangered wildlife fund, which shall consist of moneys paid into it by the tax commissioner under section 5747.113 of the Revised Code, moneys deposited in the fund from the issuance of wildlife conservation license plates under section 4503.57 of the Revised Code, moneys deposited in the fund from the issuance of bald eagle license plates under section 4503.572 of the Revised Code, moneys credited to the fund under section 1533.151 of the Revised Code, and contributions made directly to it. Any person may contribute directly to the fund in addition to or independently of the income tax refund contribution system established in section 5747.113 of the Revised Code. Moneys in the fund shall be disbursed pursuant to vouchers approved by the director of natural resources for use by the division of wildlife solely for the purchase, management, preservation, propagation, protection, and stocking of wild animals that are not commonly taken for sport or commercial purposes, including the acquisition of title and easements to lands, biological investigations, law enforcement, production of educational materials, sociological surveys, habitat development, and personnel and equipment costs; and for carrying out section 1531.25 of the Revised Code. Moneys in the fund also may be used to promote and develop nonconsumptive wildlife recreational opportunities involving wild animals. Moneys in the fund from the issuance of bald eagle license plates under section 4503.572 of the Revised Code shall be expended by the division only to pay the costs of acquiring, developing, and restoring habitat for bald eagles within this state. Moneys in the fund from any other source also may be used to pay the costs of acquiring, developing, and restoring habitat for bald eagles within this state.
All investment earnings of the fund shall be credited to the fund. Subject to the approval of the director, the chief of the division of wildlife may enter into agreements that the chief considers appropriate to obtain additional moneys for the protection of nongame native wildlife under the "Endangered Species Act of 1973," 87 Stat. 884, 16 U.S.C.A. 1541 - 1543, as amended, and the "Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act of 1980," 94 Stat. 1322, 16 U.S.C.A. 2901 - 2911, as amended. Moneys appropriated from the fund are not intended to replace other moneys appropriated for these purposes.
Effective Date: 09-26-2003