Here’s what the Biden Administration is prioritizing in its FY2023 budget request
The White House has released the president’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2023, which contains some important line items for conservation. The document is meant to guide Congress as lawmakers begin to negotiate funding levels for the next fiscal year.
According to the proposal, the Biden Administration is focusing conservation investments in several key areas and agencies, in part to tackle climate change and drive implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which passed late last year.
Here are seven highlights that could affect hunters and anglers.
A Big Bump for South Florida Water Quality
Notably, the president has prioritized a $57-million increase—and over $400 million total—to support restoration in the Everglades, one of our most unique and ecologically significant ecosystems. This is in addition to the $1.1 billion committed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Hunters and anglers have been calling for full funding of Everglades projects since last fall. Take action here to add your voice.
Full Funding for Farm Bill Forest Efforts
Under the president’s request, the popular Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program would receive an increase from $28 million to $80 million, which is the full amount authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill. The CFLRP is one of our most successful programs for restoring the condition of forest habitats on private lands that benefit deer, wild turkeys, and so many of the species we care about. The budget also includes substantial increases to USDA Forest Health Management accounts.
A Milestone for Refuges
The White House is recommending that $581 million, or $62 million over FY22 enacted levels, go to the National Wildlife Refuge System. This would be the largest budget ever for management of these public lands, where access to hunting and fishing has grown substantially in recent years.
Steady Funding for Waterfowl Habitat
The administration also wants to sustain funding of $46.5 million for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, our nation’s most successful public-private partnership conservation program. Strong support for NAWCA restoration could also be good news for grasslands, if lawmakers embrace the idea of a North American Grasslands Conservation Act this year.
Certainty for Local Wildlife Management
The administration would direct an additional $10 million dollars for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grant Program, which supports state efforts to manage fish and wildlife species. This would bring total annual funding for this program up to $82 million.
Boosting Conservation in Underserved Communities
The budget also includes a $54-million increase—from $32 million up to $86 million—for climate resilience programs at the Bureau of Indian Affairs and a $46-million increase—for a total of $140 million—for Environmental Justice grants at the EPA.
Investing to Reach Climate Goals
Finally, the president’s budget boasts nearly $45 billion in governmentwide climate spending, a near 50-percent increase from FY22 enacted levels. This proposed funding would run the gamut from climate-smart education programs to drought mitigation and carbon market development, and it is intended to move the United States closer to achieving the climate goals outlined when Biden first came into office. The TRCP and our partner groups continue share the perspective of sportsmen and sportswomen experiencing climate impacts and proposing solutions to the administration and Congress.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, Appropriators in Congress will have the final say on spending levels for Fiscal Year 2023, a process now underway on Capitol Hill. The sporting and conservation communities are continually providing feedback on funding priorities and demand for programs on the landscape and look forward to building on these efforts in the year to come.
Top photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Midwest Region via Flickr.