The President’s fiscal year 2013 discretionary budget request supports $1.5 billion in programs for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an increase of $72.0 million over the 2012 enacted level.
In addition, the budget includes a $200 million cancellation of prior year unobligated balances from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, for a net 2013 request of $1.3 billion for the agency. The 2013 request focuses funding on the agency’s highest conservation priorities, including the America’s Great Outdoors initiative and cooperative species recovery. The budget request also contains program and administrative cost-cutting measures.
“The Service’s budget request makes some tough choices, generating program reductions and management savings while supporting our effort to transform the agency to meet the conservation challenges of the 21st century,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “By building science capacity and focusing on strategic, partnership-driven landscape conservation, this budget will enable us to be more effective and efficient with the funding we receive.”
The Service’s budget request contains costs in a number of areas by identifying administrative efficiencies, program reductions, and other savings, while proposing select increases. The request also includes $994.7 billion in permanent appropriations, most of which will be provided directly to the States for fish and wildlife restoration and conservation.
America’s great outdoors
The budget request includes funding for projects in support of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, such as the Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area in Kansas and the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, that will conserve and protect wildlife and working lands on a landscape level while creating jobs through travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation activities.
Working through public-private partnerships and locally-supported conservation strategies, the initiative seeks to protect and restore the nation’s most important ecosystems and natural areas and to reconnect Americans, especially young adults, to America’s natural heritage.
The Administration’s 2013 budget requests $450.0 million in funding across the government for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and includes a total of $106.9 million within FWS — an increase of $52.3 million from the FY 2012 enacted level — for land acquisitions that the Service has identified as having the greatest conservation benefit.
In addition, the budget seeks increases for several grant programs administered by the Service that support AGO goals and leverage Federal funds with significant partner contributions. These grant programs include the Cooperative Endangered Species Fund (a $12.3 million increase over FY 2012 enacted level of $47.7 million) and the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund (a $3.9 million increase over the FY 2012 enacted level of $35.5 million). The Service’s budget also provides funding for natural resource jobs for America’s youth, including Youth Conservation Corps positions on wildlife refuges and elsewhere.