President’s proposal would increase Interior funding

The U.S. administration has released further details regarding their Fiscal Year 2022 budget, which includes increased funding for many wildlife and conservation programs under the Department of the Interior.

The initial budget request for $1.52 trillion released on April 9 did not provide program-level funding for most departments, but included an overall 8.8% increase, including new funding for climate change and other administration priorities. The more detailed proposal released last week provides more specific information on the administration’s program-level funding requests.

“The Wildlife Society supports robust funding for wildlife management and conservation programs, and we are encouraged to see increases for many of these programs in the president’s budget proposal,” said Caroline Murphy, AWB®, government relations manager at The Wildlife Society. “We particularity appreciate the increases for key programs such as State and Tribal Wildlife Grants and the National Wildlife Refuge System.”

The Wildlife Society submitted testimony to the congressional appropriations committees regarding Department of the Interior and related agency funding levels earlier this year.

Under the presidents’ proposal, the Department of the Interior would see a 16% increase to  $17.4 billion. The proposal would increase funding from $72.4 million to $82.4 million for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program, which directly supports states, tribes and territories in keeping common species common and preventing wildlife from becoming threatened or endangered. The Wildlife Society recommended funding of $100 million for State and Tribal Wildlife Grants in FY 2022.

The proposed budget for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also contains a notable increase for the operations and maintenance of the National Wildlife Refuge System — $584.4 million, an increase of $80.5 million above the FY 2021 level. As a member of the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement, TWS recommended funding the refuge system at no less than $600 million for FY 2022 as a step toward ensuring refuges have the funding they need to perform their important work.

The proposal would also fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was recently authorized by Congress to receive permanent funding of $900 million each year.

The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act would receive a sizable increase, from $4.9 million to $7.9 million under the proposal.

Within the U.S. Geological Survey, the president’s budget would provide a small increase for the Cooperative Research Units, which conduct actionable fish and wildlife research through partnerships that include the USGS, state fish and wildlife agencies, host universities and the Wildlife Management Institute. The proposal would increase funding from $25 to $25.5 million, but would not provide the full $27 million that The Wildlife Society recommended.

The budget proposal also includes a nearly $50 million increase for Bureau of Land Management’s Wildlife and Aquatic Management program, which would bring funding for the program up to $237 million in FY 2022. The administration’s proposal would also provide a substantial increase for wild horse and burro management, from $115.7 million to $152.6 million, to support “continued efforts to constrain the growth of animals on the range and to cover rising holding costs.”

The proposal also noted that, “the Department is actively reviewing the 2019 reorganization of BLM, which changed the location of BLM headquarters to Grand Junction, Colo. and moved functions, positions and employees to locations across the West.”

Appropriations committees in both the House and Senate are in the process of developing the appropriations bills for FY 2022, which will begin Oct. 1, 2021. While those committees may consider the administration’s budget proposal during that process, they are not obligated to follow it.

Read TWS’ testimony on the Department of the Interior’s FY 2022 budget.

Header Image: The budget proposal released last week by the U.S. administration would increase funding for key wildlife and management programs within the Department of the Interior. Credit: NPS