The chamber passed a “minibus” package of appropriations bills outlining funding for the federal agriculture, energy, water, environment, and public land agencies, including investments in conservation that will affect hunting and fishing in America
In a 219 – 208 floor vote this afternoon, the House passed a “minibus” package of appropriations bills for fiscal year 2022, including those that fund conservation at the federal agencies overseeing agriculture, energy, water, the environment, and public lands.
Experts at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership have scrutinized these funding levels and identified important increases in several areas, including drought resiliency, wetlands conservation, private land conservation, big game herd health, and habitat restoration in the Everglades, Chesapeake Bay, and Upper Mississippi River watershed.
“We’re pleased to see the House supporting robust and increased investment in conservation at a time when public land visitation is up, participation in hunting and fishing is growing, and our natural resources face many challenges, including climate change, drought, development, invasive species, wildfire, and disease,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the TRCP. “We have to create certainty for the federal workers who keep hunters and anglers safe on our public lands and waters and give them the resources to improve habitat and stave off risk—rather than scramble to recover after losses or watch maintenance backlogs grow. This requires investment. We look forward to working with the Senate to secure these funding levels and seize additional opportunities to commit to conservation in fiscal year 2022.”
Some highlights of the appropriations package include:
- $25 million for the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART Drought Response Program, which is $10 million more than FY21
- $350 million for Army Corps construction projects within the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Program—an increase of $100 million over FY21, although less than half of what the TRCP and conservation partners had pushed for to expedite completion of authorized Everglades restoration projects
- $50 million for North American Wetlands Conservation Act programs, up by $3.5 million
- A $65-million bump in funding for conservation technical assistance available to private landowners who enhance habitat, bringing total program funding to $894 million
- A $44-million increase for Bureau of Land Management habitat programs, bringing the total to $233 million
- $33.5 million for Upper Mississippi River restoration
- $15 million for Chesapeake Bay watershed restoration at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- $10 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to assist state agencies in CWD containment
While the funding measure takes an important step in growing federal investment in several areas important to wildlife, conservation needs continue to outpace funding. Challenges ranging from chronic wasting disease to drought are affecting hunters, anglers, landowners, and fish and wildlife. The TRCP looks forward to working with lawmakers in the Senate to support these critical funding needs for FY22 and years to come.
Photo by RimLight Media