Cooperative Research Units may see increased funding

By Emily Ronis

A USGS Cooperative Research Unit is conducting research to assist with the restoration of whooping cranes (Grus americana) in southwest Louisiana. ©USFWS

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies advanced a fiscal year 2019 spending bill with report language that would provide $19.29 million for the Cooperative Research Units program, a $1.92 million increase from current funding levels.

The CRU, a program in the U.S. Geological Survey, establishes research partnerships between graduate students and academic, federal and state professionals to conduct research that informs wildlife management and policy decisions. The program is experiencing a high number of vacancies, with more than 30 of the program’s federal scientist positions vacant due to lack of available funding.

The potential funding increase for the program is a change from the president’s proposed FY2019 budget, which proposed the elimination of CRU. Appropriated funds have remained flat since FY2013.

The Wildlife Society previously submitted a letter expressing concern over the elimination of the program in the president’s proposed budget and its impact on science-based wildlife management. TWS also submitted testimony requesting at least $24 million in funding for the CRU program to fill current vacancies and create four additional units long requested by state agencies.

The House is working to pass 11 other spending bills before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. The Senate will work on its own appropriation bills and the two chambers will reconcile differences between bills before they are considered by the president.

Emily Ronis is a Policy Communication Intern at The Wildlife Society. Read more of Emily's articles.

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