Commission Agenda Item No. 9
Presenter:  Steve Hall

Target Range Grant Funding
August 26, 2010

I.       Executive Summary:  The department provides grants to qualifying third-party applicants for the development of target range and hunter education facilities.  Applications are reviewed annually, and grant projects are approved for construction of new ranges or the enhancement of existing target range facilities.

II.     Discussion:  With support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Federal Assistance, the department administers a target range grant program.  Funds are available to qualifying applicants from both private and public sectors that provide public use of their facilities and open them to hunter education.  Applicants provide twenty-five percent (25%) of the total project cost; with federal grant funds made available through the state’s “hunter safety apportionment,” providing the balance or seventy-five percent (75%).

A properly executed “Target Range Agreement” is the long-term contract that allows the applicant to begin constructing new facilities or enhancing existing ranges.  Eligible activities include construction of roads, ranges, storage units, restrooms and/or hunter education classrooms.  Approvals by the Department (Section 7 Biological Review), Texas Historical Commission (Cultural Review); U.S. Fish and Wildlife (NEPA) and the National Rifle Association (Range Review/Evaluation) must be met prior to execution of the agreement.

Staff received applications from six ranges for fiscal year 2011 consideration, and three are currently recommended for funding (see Exhibit A) pending availability of federal funds.  Criteria for rating applications were revised and approved in August 2007 and include whether the facilities will be constructed in an urban, suburban or rural county and if new shooting sports facilities and program opportunities will be provided, especially youth shooting sports programs provided by the department and its partners (e.g. 4-H Shooting Sports, Archery in Schools, Ag Clays, Advanced Hunter Education, Texas Youth Hunting Program).

III.    Recommendation:  Staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to execute contracts funding the projects at Exhibit A, pending availability of federal funds.”

            Attachments — 1

  1. Exhibit A – Target Range Grants – FY 2011

Commission Agenda Item No. 9
Exhibit A

FY 2011 Target Range Grant Project Descriptions

1.  PROJECT SPONSOR:  Houston Parks & Recreation Department — Lake Houston Archery Park (Harris County)

PROJECT:  Development of  new outdoor archery ranges and facilities as part of an overall “Houston Archery Strategy” involving the City of Houston, Houston Parks and Recreation Department, Archery Trade Association, archery retailers/industry and in-school/after school archery programs sponsored by the Department and various youth organizations

TYPE:  New range construction project – Phase I – New Outdoor Archery Range

DISCUSSION:  The Houston Parks and Recreation Department requests funding to develop an “archery park” at their Lake Houston Wilderness Park facilities – formerly TPWD’s Lake Houston State Park.  Archery park construction includes youth and adult ranges, shooting stations, parking areas and restrooms.  The new outdoor archery park will provide youth shooting sports opportunities for schools that currently come to the park as part of Park and Recreation Center activities/camps and as part of field trips sponsored by the Houston Independent School District.  Outdoor archery opportunities also give students who have been introduced to archery in the schools, a place to safely practice archery after school.  The new range will attract many archery organizations, competitions, other after school archery programs and it will provide a place for bow hunters to practice their sport.

RECOMMENDATION:  Approve federal funding of $120,000 (Phase I) in FY 2011 for this project pending availability of federal Wildlife Restoration funds (Hunter Safety Apportionment).  The applicant has the required $40,000 match to receive the grant.

2.  PROJECT SPONSOR:  Waco Skeet & Trap Club (McLennan County)

PROJECT:  Continued development of sporting clays facilities, trap and skeet ranges, and classroom renovations at the existing range.

TYPE:  Amendment to increase funding for an existing project – Phase II — Outdoor Range Improvement Project

DISCUSSION:  Waco Skeet & Trap Club requests additional federal assistance for improvements and renovations to their facility which hosts youth shooting sports organizations, hunter education and national and state trap, skeet and sporting clay competitions. Since the facility is within the city limits of Waco, it favorably impacts the local economy every time it hosts a shoot.  Renovations to the classroom will allow the club to host larger hunter education and 4-H shooting sports venues and sponsor local Ag Clay high school teams.  The club received an original grant in 1990 for $30,000 to construct trap and skeet facilities.

RECOMMENDATION:  Approve federal funding of $90,000 (Phase II) in FY 2011 for this project pending availability of federal Wildlife Restoration funds (Hunter Safety Apportionment).  The applicant has the required $30,000 match to receive the grant.

3.  PROJECT SPONSOR:  Pharr Rifle and Pistol Club, Inc. (Cameron County)

PROJECT:  Development of roads, parking and hunter education classroom facilities and enhancement to existing ranges at the existing rifle and pistol range.

TYPE:  Range enhancement project – Phase I – Outdoor Range Improvement Project

DISCUSSION:  This is an enhancement project to an existing rifle and pistol facility in the more populous Rio Grande Valley area.  A range that used to be considered a rural range is now considered an urban range in the fourth most populated area of Texas.  The project’s goal is to build a hunter education classroom and improve/construct bullet catchers and baffles at the range site.  The club hosts Boy Scout and other youth shooting sports groups, and with a classroom, it will be able to facilitate hunter education, 4-H shooting sports and other youth shooting sports opportunities.  It also hosts law enforcement groups, regional shooting competitions and public sight-in days for hunters.

RECOMMENDATION:  Approve federal funding of $30,000 (Initial Funding) in FY 2011 for this project pending availability of federal Wildlife Restoration funds (Hunter Safety Apportionment).  The applicant has the required $10,000 match to receive the grant.