TWS submits FY18 appropriations testimony

By Jamila Blake

©Rich Keen, DPRA

On May 24, The Wildlife Society submitted written testimony  concerning the fiscal year 2018 (FY18) budget to the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. TWS’ testimony focused specifically on appropriations for programs within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Forest Service.

The testimony provides programmatic requests for funding levels within the four agencies based on TWS and coalition assessment of the needs of each program — emphasizing funding levels that empower and enable the appropriate use of science within these programs. The testimony also requests that Congress ensure protection of the independent science-advising role of federal advisory committees during the Administration’s current suspension and review process.

TWS’ requests for USFWS’ programs include $38 million for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, $6.5 million for the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, $253 million for Ecological Services, and $50 million for Migratory Bird Management. For the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program, — the nation’s only program that directly supports development and implementation of State Wildlife Action Plans — TWS recommends $70 million in appropriations. As a member of the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE), TWS also requests $586 million for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

For the Wildlife and Fisheries Management program and the Threatened and Endangered Species Management Program, both housed within BLM, TWS encourages Congress to appropriate $121 and $48 million, respectively. TWS recommends $81 million for Wild Horse and Burro Management and for Congress to remove the current appropriations language that limits management options of wild horses and burros. TWS, co-chair of the National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition, recognizes horses and burros in the U.S. as ecologically invasive, feral species.

TWS, also a member of the USGS Coalition, supports funding of $174 million for USGS’ Ecosystems Mission Area with $22 million directed to Cooperative Research Units. TWS provided testimony as well for programs in USFS — an agency that is directed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but receives appropriations through the Interior Subcommittee — including Wildlife and Fisheries Habitat ($140 million) and Forest and Rangelands Research ($303 million).

Learn more about the U.S. Federal Budgeting Process in Section 5 of TWS’ Policy Toolkit.

Jamila Blake is a policy intern at The Wildlife Society as part of the Wildlife Policy and Programs team. Read more of Jamila's articles here.