U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service | Southeast Region News Release
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President Bush Proposes $1.78 Billion Budget for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 9, 2001

Contact:
Patricia Fisher, 202-208-5634
Tom MacKenzie, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (404) 679-7291

President Bush's $1.78 billion budget for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for Fiscal Year 2002 provides significant funding in support of State and local conservation efforts. This includes $161.0 million in discretionary appropriations for programs that exclusively give direct financial and technical assistance to States, local communities, landowners, and conservation groups. It also provides nearly $600.0 million in permanently appropriated State grants for fish and wildlife restoration and conservation.

"The President's budget underscores his strong determination that the States, Tribes, and private citizens must be equal partners with the Federal government in the management and conservation of this country's natural resources," said Secretary Norton. "Also, with his support for shoring up our national wildlife refuges and providing funds for visitors facilities, the President wants to ensure that all Americans can experience first-rate outdoor recreational and educational opportunities."

The 2002 request for current appropriations is $1.09 billion. While a $167.9 million reduction from 2001, it is a $204.8 million increase over 2000. The budget includes reductions of $175.6 million in existing Service grant programs. However, States will be able to conduct projects that would have been funded with these grant programs through the LWCF State grants program. This program gives the States new flexibility for the use of LWCF State grants and is funded under the National Park Service. LWCF State grants are funded at $450.0 million, a $359.7 million increase over 2001. Beginning in 2002, States will be able to use these funds for wetlands conservation, threatened and endangered species conservation, and wildlife and habitat conservation.

The President is also requesting $60 million for two new grant programs designed to assist private landowners, farmers, developers and ranchers in protecting and managing habitat. The budget includes $50 million to establish a competitively awarded cost, shared landowner incentive program for grants to States, the District of Columbia, Territories and Tribes. This grant program will allow the States to work with private landowners to protect habitat for diverse species while engaging in traditional land management practices. The second new grant program, entitled Private Stewardship Grants, will fund $10 million in grants to individuals and organizations for conservation initiatives on private lands. Both grant programs will give the States, Tribes, and local communities more flexibility for innovative conservation partnerships on private lands.

The Service's budget request also maintains a strong commitment to Federal conservation efforts by providing $104.4 million, an increase of $42.5 million over 2000, for priority acquisition of land and conservation easements from willing sellers.

"As land use and natural resource decisions grow ever more complex, it is clear the Service must step up its commitment to collaborate with our state and local partners early in the decision making process," said Acting Service Director Marshall Jones. "There are many talented, knowledgeable, dedicated and highly professional people throughout the country who have their own locally-based wildlife conservation concerns. By bringing these partners to the table, we are offering a common sense approach to natural resource management."

The budget funds Service operations at $806.8 million, about the same as 2001 but a $92.2 million increase above 2000. This request includes $314.7 million for National Wildlife Refuge System operations and maintenance, a net increase of $15 million over the 2001 enacted level, and a $56 million increase over FY 2000 funding levels. The funding increase demonstrates the Secretary's commitment to reducing maintenance backlogs through a three-step approach: $1.9 million is requested to hire essential maintenance workers; $2.2 million for annual preventive maintenance; and $5.9 million for deferred maintenance, including a $1.8 million increase for condition assessments and improved maintenance management systems. Service estimates indicate that, throughout the country, refuge visitors contribute more than $400 million to local economies each year. These benefits are expected to grow as more and more people visit refuges during the System's 100th anniversary in 2003.

To further support the Service's preparation for the centennial anniversary of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the Administration is requesting $2.6 million to fund the construction of both an interpretive center and administrative facility for Florida's tiny Pelican Island, the nation's first national wildlife refuge. These new facilities will help the Service better tell the story of the Refuge System's 100-year history.

The Service's budget also proposes several targeted initiatives to address high priority conservation needs in California, the Pacific Northwest, Florida Everglades, and the Great Lakes.

  • CALFED Bay Delta Restoration: The Service requests an additional $1 million to support the multi-agency CALFED Bay Delta Program to restore ecosystems and improve water management in California's Sacramento- San Joaquin Bay-Delta estuary. The Service has a major role in addressing compliance with both the State and Federal Endangered Species Acts; with collaboratively managing the Environmental Water Account; and in overseeing wetlands, flood plain management, and restoration contracts. An additional $7.2 million is included in the land acquisition account for key Central Valley refuges.
  • Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan: The Service requests an additional $2.7 million to support the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), the most far-reaching and ambitious ecosystem restoration project ever undertaken in the United States. This effort, expected to take 30 years to complete, is designed to restore the historic hydrology and ecological function of the Everglades that have been seriously degraded by 50 years of flood control and drainage projects. In cooperation with the Army Corps of Engineers and other interagency partners, the Service will offer technical assistance and wildlife conservation expertise to ensure that ecosystem benefits are consistent with long-term CERP goals. This project represents a major commitment by the Service in South Florida. When completed, it will restore habitat for wetland-dependent and other aquatic species as well as recreational and commercial fisheries.
  • Columbia Basin Aquatic Conservation: The Service requests an additional $3.5 million to address salmon conservation in the Columbia River Basin of the Pacific Northwest, particularly for listed fish including bull trout, Kootenai white sturgeon, and 12 salmon and steelhead populations. With more than a century of fisheries management experience in the Columbia River Basin and Endangered Species Act responsibility for bull trout and Kootenai white sturgeon, the Service will work to restore and protect habitat, modify fish propagation strategies; improve hydro power operations to ensure the survival of native aquatic species; manage harvest to minimize take of listed species while meeting treaty trust responsibilities and providing minimum levels of sport and commercial harvest; and address Caspian tern depredation of juvenile salmon.
  • Trinity River Restoration: The Service requests an additional $2 million to implement a comprehensive river restoration program that specifies flows in the river, restoration actions, and monitoring/adaptive management necessary to restore the lost fisheries of the Trinity River in the Pacific Northwest. The Service will work with the Trinity Management Council to select high priority habitat restoration projects that will help increase populations of coho, steelhead, and chinook salmon, increase spawning habitat, and establish adequate water quality for essential fish migration.
  • Great Lakes Consent Decree: The Service requests an additional $1.2 million to uphold tribal fishing rights and allocate fishery resources to the Tribes, in accordance with the US v Michigan 2000 Consent Decree. The Service is required to provide expert technical support on dispute issues related to the Decree; to provide biological expertise and technical assistance to the Tribes and the State of Michigan on the allocation and management of shared fishery resources; to maintain and increase the number of lake trout stocked in Lakes Michigan and Huron; and to evaluate the success of lake trout rehabilitation.
The proposed budget calls for the following funding levels to support the Service's resource management programs:

  • A total of $112 million for Endangered Species operations, including a program increase of $2 million for the ESA listing program.
  • A total of $92.9 million for the Service's Fisheries Program, a $5.9 million program increase for initiatives described above. This funding request will support activities designed to restore the nation's waterways as well as native aquatic species and their habitat. America's waterways, considered an economic lifeline, provide millions of Americans with countless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and have significant impact on the health of our communities.
  • A total of $25.2 million to support the Service's Migratory Bird Management programs, including funding to support the Columbia Basin Aquatic Conservation described above for Caspian tern salmon depredation.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency with responsibility for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats. The Service manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 535 wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on angling and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.



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2001 News Releases

   
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