Conservation Program Funding — TU and the Federal Budget and Appropriations Process
Dear TU Colleagues, Friends, and Supporters:
Debate on the Fiscal Year 2018 federal budget is currently underway in D.C., and we urge you to contact the President and your members in Congress to tell them that adequate funding for the federal natural resource agencies is vital to the conservation work of Trout Unlimited and to sound management of the nation’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.
Contact the President and your representative in Congress and urge them to support the strongest possible funding levels for conservation programs in the FY18 appropriations process, including adequate funding for resource agencies and no harmful legislative riders.
Many of the natural resource agency budgets have been eroding over the past 15 years, and some in Congress are vowing to make steep cuts to federal agencies. It is important to let decision-makers hear your support for adequate federal funding at the beginning of the budget process.
What are “conservation programs” and what is the funding process?
How do we influence the process and why does the outcome matter to TU?
Trout Unlimited engages in the budget and appropriations process at several points along the way, advocating for adequate funding to support agency staff and programs that are essential to support clean water and healthy public lands. We do this by sharing stories of the incredible conservation successes that TU staff and volunteers, working in partnership with willing landowners and agency partners, are able to accomplish in watersheds across the country with the support of federal conservation programs.
Through a combination of passion for the resource and our collaborative approach to finding solutions, TU is able to leverage modest federal dollars many times over to amplify the benefit of our projects.
From providing miles of stream side fencing to restoring brook trout in West Virginia, to upgrading irrigation facilities to restore cutthroat trout in Utah and Montana, TU and our partners have conducted hundreds of great conservation projects by effectively leveraging federal conservation dollars.
The Trump Administration is currently developing its budget — the spending that it would like to see across his agencies — for Fiscal year 2018. After this budget proposal is complete, the President will send the proposal to Congress, where the Appropriations committees will determine whether or not to fund the President’s requested amounts. The Congress has wide latitude to approve amounts that are greater or lesser than the President’s request for agencies and programs.
Agency Funding for Staff and Resources —
TU supports supports adequate funding for agencies that are responsible for conservation of our public lands and fish habitats. Funding is essential to ensure that agencies have staff and resources to manage parks, maintain trails and restore damaged habitat to promote healthier lands and waters.
The primary agencies that play a role in managing and protecting our public lands and waters include the following:
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — The EPA is responsible for protecting human health and the environment. The EPA budget includes programs that support TU priorities, such as cleanup of abandoned mines and efforts to protect and restore trout habitat in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay.
- Department of the Interior (DOI) — The DOI includes a number of agencies that provide essential services to America’s public resources, including: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS); Bureau of Reclamation (BOR); National Park Service (NPS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), among others. Collectively, these agencies are responsible for the management and conservation of the vast majority of America’s public lands and natural resources including hundreds of millions of acres of national parks, wildlife refuges and BLM lands across the west.
- Department of Agriculture (USDA) — The USDA oversees two agencies of critical significance to TU’s work and mission: the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), which oversees 154 national forests and 20 grassland across the country; and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners conserve the nation’s soil, water, air and other natural resources.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) —NOAA, and its National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), oversee programs related to Pacific Salmon and steelhead recovery; coastal restoration; and flood resiliency projects.
TU Project Examples supported by Conservation Program Funding:
- Chesapeake Bay, EPA Small Watershed Grants: Article on TU’s partnership w/ landowner, Ray Paul, Back Creek restoration project in Highland County, VA (2016–06–14: Richmond Times Dispatch, “Projects Aim to get Trout off the Hook”)
- Penobscot River Restoration, USFWS Fish Passage Program -Penobscot River restoration, Moyer’s blog
- Cleanup of Abandoned Coal Mines and Acid Mine Drainage via Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) — TU’s Eastern Abandoned Mines Program page
- USGS Streamflow Information Program: Article on TU’s partnerships for NM Gila trout restoration (2016–04–26: Ruidoso Times, “Saving Native New Mexican Trout”)
- Habitat restoration with USFS Legacy Roads and Trails: TU Metolius River restoration video
These programs represent sound investments in the health of the watersheds that support fisheries resources. Many of these programs provide essential seed money for TU projects, which we leverage with private dollars, as well as state and other federal agency funding to amplify the value of these programs.
How Can You Get Involved?
Reach out — get in touch and get engaged
- Contact your local chapter or council to help plan or join a restoration project in a watershed near you or reach out to TU Volunteer Operations Staff for help locating tools and resources;
- Check out TU’s new “Project Finder” to see what might be underway in your area.
- Contact the TU Government Affairs team to see what’s cooking in Congress or in the Budget planning process;
Stand Up — Take Action with TU
- Check out TU’s Advocacy Center at standup.tu.org to see what current campaigns are underway or to learn more about getting involved in advocacy work on behalf of Trout Unlimited
Current Action Opportunity: Contact the President and your representative in Congress and urge them to support the strongest possible funding levels for conservation programs in the FY18 appropriations process, including adequate funding for resource agencies and no harmful legislative riders.
For more information on the specific programs and projects that TU is working on with support of federal program partners or funding, please contact Steve Moyer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kate Miller (email@example.com).