FWS $1.6B 2011 budget request includes initiatives for watershed protection, climate change

Feb. 1, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 1, 2010 -- The President's FY 2011 budget request of $1.6 billion for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will focus funding on the agency's highest priority conservation initiatives, while containing costs...

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 1, 2010 -- The President's FY 2011 budget request of $1.6 billion for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will focus funding on the agency's highest priority conservation initiatives, while containing costs through management efficiencies and other savings to address government fiscal realities. Among the top strategic investments are increases of $18.8 million for Climate Change Adaptation and $4 million for work to review planned renewable energy development to ensure they do not place threatened or endangered species at risk, as well as an additional $15.8 million for ecosystem restoration and $20 million for Federal land acquisition.

The budget focuses on key ecosystems threatened by pollution, water shortages and habitat destruction through the Treasured Landscapes Initiative, and includes an additional $2.5 million to fund conservation jobs for youth through the Youth in Natural Resources Initiative. An additional $1.23 billion would be made available through permanent appropriations, most of which will go directly to states for fish and wildlife restoration and conservation efforts.

"This budget request recognizes the need to make difficult choices in challenging economic times, while providing substantial increases to address the unparalleled threat posed by climate change to our nation's fish and wildlife resources," said Sam Hamilton, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "The strategic investments this budget makes will allow us to continue to work with our partners to build the capacity we need to tackle climate change and other future challenges. Our request also recognizes the need to protect significant ecosystems across the nation and to facilitate the responsible development of renewable energy resources."

The following is a brief summary of the Service's FY 2011 request:

Climate Change Adaptation Initiative: The budget request provides for an increase of $18.8 million for climate change, including $8.8 million for Climate Change Planning and Adaptive Science Capacity. The budget will build on the new Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs), partner-based centers for biological planning and conservation design. By the end of FY 2010, nine LCCs will be established. In FY 2011, three additional LCCs will be established with $3.8 million of the requested increase for climate change planning, thereby enabling the Service to increase the total to 12 LCCs. These 12 LCCs will cover more than half the country. To support pressing scientific needs, $5.0 million dollars in additional funding is requested to provide climate models, species and habitat assessments, and other information needed to make required adaptive management decisions. The budget also provides $8.0 million for continued development of our refuge system climate science inventory and monitoring effort, as well as $2.0 million for conservation measures on private lands through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program.

New Energy Frontier Initiative: This initiative includes an additional $4 million for consultation, conservation planning and technical assistance in project design and review of renewable energy projects. Energy development activities can have a major and direct impact on fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats, and have the potential to alter public recreational opportunities in the outdoors. The Service's ability to conduct consultations and planning activities is critical to ensuring that the nation can expand the production of renewable energy while protecting environmental values.

Treasured Landscapes: An additional $15.8 million will lend additional support to ongoing restoration and conservation efforts in nationally significant ecosystems such as the Everglades, Gulf Coast, Chesapeake Bay, and San Francisco Bay Delta. The budget also provides $106.3 million, an increase of $20.0 million, for land acquisition for the National Wildlife Refuge System, providing support for important ecosystems and vital wildlife habitat and lands for outdoor recreation. Additional funding requested includes:

$1.8 million requested for Everglades to support landscape-scale conservation and restoration projects in the Florida Everglades.

$5.0 million requested for Chesapeake Bay to support implementation of Executive Order 13508 to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay. The Executive Order calls for Federal leadership ..."to protect and restore the health, heritage, natural resources, and social and economic value of the Nation's largest estuarine ecosystem and the natural sustainability of its watershed."

$4.0 million requested for the California Bay Delta will support a variety of actions and investments the Administration is undertaking to address California's current water supply and ecological crisis. The Administration's efforts will support and complement the recently-enacted state law that addresses water supply needs within the State.

$5.0 million requested for the Service's Gulf Coast effort -- part of a larger effort with state and federal partners -- to implement restoration projects on refuges and enable the Service to provide its expertise to multi-agency planning of projects. These projects are needed to mitigate, in part, effects of ongoing wetlands losses along the Central Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi.

Youth in Natural Resources Initiative: Additional funding will provide jobs in natural resources for America's youth, including Youth Conservation Corps positions at wildlife refuges. The increase for this initiative includes $2 million for the National Wildlife Refuge System to hire youth through programs such as the Youth Conservation Corps and $1 million through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will leverage this funding to obtain private contributions and implement a competitive grant program to develop new or expand existing youth conservation job programs. Funds will be awarded to Refuges, Fish Hatcheries, Friends groups, Youth Conservation Corps, and non-governmental organizations and others who seek to develop innovative conservation employment opportunities for youth. The primary focus of the program will be to support Refuges, Fish Hatcheries and priority species on both public and private lands.

Details on the President's FY 2011 Budget Request are available online at www.whitehouse.gov/omb/.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.