Arizona Game and FIsh Department - Managing Today for Wildlife Tomorrow: Arizona Game and Fish Department

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Heritage Fund

For more than 20 years the Heritage Fund has made a difference not just to wildlife conservation efforts, but also to the state’s economy, public access, environmental education and outdoor recreation. Passed by voters as a ballot initiative in 1990 by a 2-1 ratio, the fund provides up to $10 million each year from Arizona lottery proceeds to the Arizona Game and Fish Department for the conservation and protection of the state’s wildlife and natural areas.

The Heritage Fund is used to protect endangered species, acquire habitat for the benefit of sensitive species, provide access to outdoor recreational opportunities, and educate children and adults about wildlife.

Because the department receives no state tax dollars to cover its operating budget, the Heritage Fund is critical to recovering or sustaining Arizona’s unique native wildlife and to managing more than 800 species. The fund’s impact is multiplied through its use as a match for federal dollars.


Heritage Success Stories

The Heritage Fund has contributed to some significant and nationally-recognized wildlife conservation success stories. Notable accomplishments of the department’s Heritage dollars over the past two decades include:

  • Landowners enrolled more than 22,000 acres in a statewide program to conserve endangered Chiricahua leopard frogs.

  • Implementation of a voluntary non-lead ammunition and hunter outreach program to enhance California condor conservation.

  • Implementation of a voluntary non-lead ammunition and hunter outreach program to enhance California condor conservation.

  • Native Apache trout have been recovered to a point that the species has been downlisted from endangered to threatened, and limited fishing opportunities are allowed.

  • Research has identified critical wildlife corridors to be considered in future construction of the state’s roadways to help maintain pathways for wildlife to move to seasonal foraging grounds and prevent populations from becoming isolated. This research has also aided in introducing measures to decrease wildlife-vehicle collisions on Arizona’s roads. 

  • Heritage funding contributed to the acquisition of nearly 18,000 acres for public enjoyment and wildlife conservation, and establishment of the Becker Lake Wildlife Area (Apache County), Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area (Cochise County), Verde River Wildlife Area (Yavapai County), and Quigley Wildlife Area (Yuma County) for habitat conservation and species recovery programs.

  • Barrier-free fishing piers have been constructed at Woodland, Mittry, Patagonia, Kaibab, Riggs and Rose Canyon lakes.

  • Schoolyard habitat projects have been awarded the “Governor’s Pride” and Westmarc’s “Best of the West” awards.

  • The Arizona Quality Alliance recognized the Urban Fish Stocking program with its Showcase in Excellence award for its efforts to provide urban recreational opportunities to the public.

bald eagle condor heritage grants

Bald Eagle
California Condor
Heritage Grants
black footed ferret wolf
Black-footed Ferret
Mexican Wolf
Apache Trout

Heritage Grants

The Heritage grants are supported by revenue from Arizona Lottery sales and are available to projects that focus on wildlife, including wildlife education, schoolyard habitats and wildlife conservation efforts. In addition, there is a grant category geared towards helping schools fund field trips that take students outside to learn about wildlife and outdoor recreation. Potential grant recipients must have a project that is either located in Arizona or involves research in which the wildlife or its habitat is located in Arizona.

Learn how to apply for a Heritage grant.


Related AZGFD Info
- Sign up for AZGFD eNews
Heritage Links
- Apply for a Grant
- Awarded Grant Projects
- Heritage Workshops
- Heritage Fund Public Advisory Committee
- Heritage Fund Grant Sub-programs
- Managing the Fund
- Groups that support the Heritage Fund
Media [More]
External Resources [More]
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife - Endangered Wildlife & Plant List
- Arizona Lottery Heritage Fund
Downloads [More]
- 2014 Heritage Grant Application Manual
- 2014 Heritage Grant Application Form


“It’s meant so much, for so long to our district and our students.” Kevin Brown, superintendent of the Flagstaff Unified School District."

“I can’t say how much it has made an impact in Arizona schools, where budgets have been so tight.” Mike Trimble, biology teacher at Tempe Corona del Sol High School."

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