President Requests $1.7 Billion For U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service In 2012
Washington, DC –-(Ammoland.com)- The President’s FY 2012 budget request of $1.7 billion for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will focus funding on the agency’s highest priority conservation initiatives, such as the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, while containing costs through management efficiencies and other savings.
The requested $1.7 billion is a net increase of $47.9 million compared to the FY 2010 enacted budget.
The budget also includes approximately $1 billion available under permanent appropriations, most of which will be provided directly to States for fish and wildlife restoration and conservation.
“In these hard economic times the Service recognizes budget requests are very challenging as difficult choices have to be made,” said Acting Fish and Wildlife Service Director Rowan Gould. “The investments considered for this budget will support the Service’s mission to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people and the great outdoors they love.”
Administrative Savings ($26.5 million decrease) In support of the President’s commitment to fiscal discipline and spending restraint, the Service is participating in an aggressive Department-wide effort to curb non-essential administrative spending. In accordance with this initiative, the Service’s FY 2012 budget assumes $26.5 million in savings, built upon management efficiencies the Service began implementing in FY 2011. Savings will be realized in several areas, including travel, employee relocation, and supplies.
National Fish Hatchery Operations – Mitigation ($6.3 million decrease) The FY 2012 request contains a reduction of funding for National Fish Hatchery Operations of nearly $6.3 million and 65 FTE. At several of its hatcheries, the Service produces fish to mitigate the adverse effects of Federal water development projects constructed by other Federal agencies. States depend on these activities to stock fisheries which provide economic benefit to local communities. The Service has been working to recover costs from the Federal agencies that built and operate these water infrastructure projects, and will continue ongoing reimbursement discussions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Tennessee Valley Authority, Central Utah Project Completion Act, and the Bonneville Power Administration.
National Wildlife Refuge Fund ($14.5 million decrease) The Service proposes the elimination of the entire appropriated portion ($14.5 million) of this program. Over time National Wildlife Refuges (Refuges) have been found to generate tax revenue for communities far in excess of tax losses from Federal land ownership. Refuge lands provide many public services, such as watershed protection, and place few demands on local infrastructure when compared to development that is more intensive. Refuges bring a multitude of visitors to nearby communities, providing substantial economic benefits. Recreational spending on refuges generates millions of dollars in tax revenue at the local, county, State and Federal level. The mandatory receipts collected and allocated to States under the program would remain.
The budget supports the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative with $140 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for Federal land acquisitions the Service has identified as having the greatest conservation benefits, and $15.7 million, an increase of $2.5 million to support Youth in the Great Outdoors by providing a platform and programs to orient children and young adults to the importance of fish and wildlife conservation and encourage careers in natural science.
The budget proposes an increase of $4 million for activities associated with renewable energy development, including $2 million for the Endangered Species Consultation program to support development of renewable energy projects and $2 million for Conservation Planning Assistance (CPA). The increase for the CPA program will enable the Service to participate more fully in priority landscape level planning to assist industry and State fish and wildlife agencies’ siting of renewable energy projects and transmission corridor infrastructure.
The budget will also support large-scale ecosystem restoration projects as examples of the Service’s commitment to a landscape-scale, science-driven, partner-engaged approach to conservation.
Additional highlights of the Service’s FY 2012 budget request include:
Cooperative Landscape Conservation ($10.2 million increase) The requested funding increase of $10.2 million will enable the Service to continue working with partners to conduct collaborative landscape-scale biological planning and conservation design by completing the network of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) initiated in FY 2010.
LCCs will continue to act as a focal point for collaborative work with partners, especially the U.S. Geological Survey’s Climate Science Centers to disseminate applied science products and tools for resource management decisions across landscapes. This collaboration allows partners to target resources on activities that will produce the greatest benefits for fish and wildlife for the American people. Within the Service, LCCs help support and augment many ongoing programs, including Endangered Species Recovery Plans, Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plans, fish passage programs and habitat restoration.
Adaptive Science ($7.2 million increase) With this additional funding the Service will be able to acquire the necessary science to make better conservation decisions. The funding will be used to acquire risk and vulnerability assessments, conduct inventory and monitoring, develop population and habitat assessments and models, design conservation measures, evaluate management options for LCC partners, and increase our understanding of conservation genetics.
Refuge Inventory and Monitoring Program ($8 million increase) In support of LCC development and adaptive science management, the requested increase of $8 million within the Refuge program will be used to continue building the landscape scale, long-term inventory and monitoring network that the Service began in FY 2010.
Endangered Species Act Petitions ($3.9 million increase) The Service also is requesting an increase in funding for the Endangered Species Listing Program, to reflect the increasingly large number of Endangered Species Act (ESA) petitions being received. Between 1994 and 2006, the Service received an average of 17 petitions annually, covering an average of 20 species per year. In contrast, since 2007 the Service has been petitioned to add more than 1,230 species to the list of threatened and endangered species, more species than the Service listed during the previous 30 years of administering the Act. With additional funding, the Service projects to complete 39 additional 90-day and 12-month petition findings, while also initiating proposed listing determinations for 93 species.
Coastal Impact Assistance Program Under the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP), the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to distribute $250 million to offshore oil producing States and their coastal political subdivisions (CPS) for each of the fiscal years 2007 through 2010. This money is shared among Alabama, Alaska, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas and is allocated to each producing State and eligible CPS based upon legislated allocation formulas. This program has been implemented from its inception by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), formally the Minerals Management Service (MMS). However, in FY 2012, the Coastal Impact Assistance Program will be transferred to the Fish and Wildlife Service as the purpose of the CIAP aligns more directly with the mission of the Service. The transfer will allow BOEMRE to focus on programs more directly aligned with its regulatory and enforcement mission. Details on the President’s FY 2012 budget request are available online at http://www.doi.gov/budget/ .
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
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