Conservation & Research

The Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) shares management responsibility for more than 60,000 acres of land distributed across 15 towns and all counties and is responsible for managing thousands of species of wildlife, including freshwater species. The division serves a wide and diverse segment of the public, from outdoor recreationists ― such as hunters, hikers, mountain bikers, and wildlife watchers ― to the general public and municipalities concerned with nuisance wildlife.

The DFW is primarily funded through the Federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) Program, administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). There are over 9,000 licensed hunters in Rhode Island, whose license revenue is used to match the federal funds. Annual appropriations for WSFR’s State Wildlife Grants (SWG) Program provide an additional, smaller, yet less restricted pot of money that can be put toward the conservation of all Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) as identified in the RI Wildlife Action Plan. WSFR funding is used to monitor populations of the state’s deer, turkey, waterfowl, and other game animals, as well as to maintain hunting areas and provide a shooting range for the public at the Great Swamp Management Area. This funding also assists in land acquisition for the DFW, helping to secure valuable habitats for wildlife, both game and non-game species, in perpetuity.

In addition to wildlife research and monitoring programs that include migratory birds, New England Cottontails, and predator species like bobcats and coyotes, the Division also spearheads projects that expand hunting and fishing opportunities in Rhode Island.

DFW Reports

DFW Wildlife Factsheets