House and Senate should support increases for conservation funding that would benefit fish, wildlife, and sportsmen
On Tuesday, President Obama unveiled his final budget proposal, a $4.1-trillion total ask for fiscal year 2017, which includes proposed increases for conservation projects across the country. Though largely symbolic, these requests indicate that conservation of natural resources, including the fish and wildlife species important to sportsmen, is a key priority for the administration. As decisions about 2017 funding levels now move to Capitol Hill and the Congressional appropriations process, sportsmen will be looking to Congress to also commit to robust funding for fish, wildlife, and our unmatched American public lands system.
“Investment in conservation is actually an investment in our economy. These funding proposals by the president are positive benchmarks that we hope will kickstart an earnest discussion about investing in conservation through the appropriations process,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “The TRCP is also thinking about the next administration and making it clear that sportsmen and women want a president who is prepared to make these investments in conservation. We won’t stand for seeing wildlife agencies bled dry while habitat suffers.”
Obama’s FY2017 budget reinforces the value of conservation and wildlife management across a broad spectrum, including such sportsmen’s priorities as State Wildlife Grants, conservation of sage steppe landscapes, private lands conservation through USDA, water conservation and resiliency efforts through the WaterSMART program, and data collection improvements at NOAA Fisheries. Notably, this budget proposal includes full funding at $900 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and a strategy for permanent reauthorization by 2018. Here’s the list of proposed projects for LWCF dollars.
The President’s budget released today represents the next step in what has been a positive trend for conservation funding, building as it does off of the comprehensive budget deal Congress and the President agreed to in December that made key investments in conservation for fiscal year 2016. Sportsmen need to see this trend continue—especially considering that conservation spending has been cut in half in the past 37 years. This will continue to be a long-term effort, and will require the full engagement of future administrations and future Congresses.
To learn more, review the budget fact sheets for the Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Commerce.