The Wildlife Society provides recommendations on spending bills

By Laura Bies

The Wildlife Society provided its recommendations for the FY 2021 budget to Congressional appropriators. ©BLM Oregon and Washington

As congressional appropriators begin to develop their Fiscal Year 2021 spending bills, The Wildlife Society recommended spending levels for the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service that would support wildlife professionals and their conservation work.

The Society submitted written testimony to the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee earlier this month, detailing its requests for funding these agencies and select programs in the coming year.

TWS recommended testimony the following funding levels:

$25 million for the U.S. Geological Survey Cooperative Research Units

$180 million for the USGS Ecosystems Mission Area

$586 million for the National Wildlife Refuge System

$270 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ecological Services program

$90 million for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program

$50 million for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act

$6.5 million for the Neotropical Bird Management Act

$19.9 million for Migratory Bird Joint Ventures

$190 million for the Bureau of Land Management’s Wildlife and Aquatic Management program

$116.8 for the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Management program

$315 million for the U.S. Forest Service Research and Development program

In addition to its own written testimony, The Wildlife Society joined with partners and coalitions to support wildlife conservation budgets. The Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE), which advocates for the National Wildlife Refuge System, submitted testimony recommending that the operations and maintenance budget for the refuge system receive $586 million funding in FY 2021.

The National Environmental Coalition on Invasive Species (NECIS), chaired by TWS, also submitted written testimony, focused on federal programs with a direct impact on the nation’s ability to combat the introduction and spread of invasive species. NECIS recommended funding the U.S. Geological Survey’s invasive species program at $26 million and adequate funding for the continued operation of the National Invasive Species Council, among other requests.

TWS also joined with the American Fisheries Society and the Society of American Foresters to provide recommendations on the budget for the U.S. Forest Service. The societies asked that appropriators increase funding for Forest Service Research and Development to at least $315 million in FY 2021, including an increase for the Forest Inventory and Analysis program, with at least $232 million designated for the other Forest and Rangeland Research program areas.

The administration released its budget request for the FY 2021 last month. Congressional appropriators do not have to adopt those recommendations, and congressional leadership has indicated they will most likely not enact the cuts recommended by the administration.

Laura BiesLaura Bies is a government relations contractor and freelance writer for The Wildlife Society. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and a law degree from George Washington University. Laura has worked with The Wildlife Society since 2005. Read more of Laura's articles.

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