Refuge fund payment history

Gap between what is paid and what is owed increases

Every year, hundreds of U.S. territories, counties, cities, towns and villages – from Alaska to Florida – are compensated for the presence of federal lands within their boundaries. These payments are meant to offset revenue that is lost because the lands are exempt from local property taxes.

Payments for national wildlife refuges are compensated through the National Wildlife Refuge Fund through a complex formula. However, because those payments are limited by how much Congress allocates to the fund each year, local governments almost never receive the full amount due.

The last time Congress fully funded the program was 1981.

Below is a summary of payment totals between 1972 and 2016.


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