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$685 Million to be Cut from Federal Wildlife and Public Lands Funds

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February 22, 2013
$685 Million to be Cut from Federal Wildlife and Public Lands Funds - 12

Barring a last-minute agreement, $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts will be automatically "sequestered" from the federal 2013 fiscal year budget on March 1. Over the next decade, $1.2 trillion in federal spending—an average of $109 billion annually—will be trimmed in similar "sequestrations."
   
If the budget cuts go into effect, on March 1 all federal agencies must comply with a directive to cut "all non-exempt nondefense discretionary funding" by a uniform 8.2 percent, meaning it will affect nearly every function of wildlife and public lands management, including greater risk of wildfires, less poaching enforcement, slower gun background checks and drastically reduced capacity to enforce environmental regulations.
   
More than $685 million in 2013 federal allocations designated for wildlife management and public lands access will be "sequestered," or withheld from distribution, if the budget cuts are enacted.
   
"These cuts will have a dramatic impact on conservation programs cherished by America's hunters and anglers as well as all those who enjoy access to our rich natural resources," the National Wildlife Federation warns. "At stake are the decades of progress our country has made to preserve the health and safety of our water, air, land, and environment and to create the clean energy jobs vital to the future of our economy."
   
According to the National Resources Defense Council, if the cuts are enacted, outdoorsmen will see trail closures, poor maintenance of forest roads, unprocessed recreational permits, shortened seasons, shuttered campgrounds and off-limits recreational areas in 398 national parks, on more than 193 million acres of national forest land, and on more than 260 other federal public land areas.
   
Among potential casualties: The National Wildlife Refuge System could lose 200 jobs and see its law enforcement budget cut by 15 percent. As a result, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar warns that 128 of the nation's 561 wildlife refuges would need to be closed.
   
Below is a brief outline of the $685 million to be cut from federal wildlife and public lands management programs:

WILDLIFE

- Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration program (Pittman-Robinson Act), which provides federal funds to states for wildlife management and restoration, would be cut by $31 million; the Sportfish Recreation program would be cut by $34 million; and the Boating Safety Trust Fund cut by $9 million.
   
- All three of these funds are raised through excise taxes on hunting, fishing, and boating equipment and fuel do not go into the general treasury. While the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) collects these taxes from manufacturers, they are required by law to distribute them to the states for wildlife and habitat management.

- The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: The service, which provides hunting and fishing opportunities by financing wildlife and habitat enhancement and managing national wildlife refuges, will see its 2013 budget cut by $105 million. This money will come from law enforcement, refuge maintenance, habitat conservation, and national fish-hatchery operations.

- Grant programs: The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program, which provides funding to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered, will be cut by about $5 million.

PUBLIC LANDS

- National parks: The National Park Service will have to trim $218 million from its 2013 budget, according to the Office of Management and Budget. This money will come from the service's operations budget, which funds protection of resources, law enforcement and park rangers, visitor services like education and interpretation, and maintenance such as trail construction and campgrounds in 398 national parks.

"Park ranger jobs would be on the chopping block," writes Russell McLendon of the Mother Nature Network on Forbes.com, noting the Natural Resources Defense Council warns “monitoring of endangered species and other scientific work would likely be delayed or dropped.”

- Wildlife Refuges: The National Wildlife Refuge System could lose 200 jobs and see its law enforcement budget cut by 15 percent. As a result, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar warns that 128 of the nation's 561 wildlife refuges would need to be closed.

- National forests: The Forest Service's 2013 budget could be cut by $175 million, impairing access to recreational opportunities and management of natural resources on the 193 million acres it manages.
   
According to the OMB, the service's operations budget would be slashed by $129 million, trimming money for forest restoration and habitat management. The service's “Forest and Rangeland Research” budget would be cut by $24 million, and its “State and Private Forestry” account, which provides funds for open space conservation and new protected areas, would be cut by $21 million.

- Public lands: The Bureau of Land Management, which manages 256 million acres of public lands mostly open to sportsmen, will see its 2013 budget cut by $85 million. Most of the money will come from the agency's operations budget, which includes nearly all of its funds to manage wildlife and fisheries, wilderness, and other recreation resources.

- Conservation lands: The Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has provided funding for countless National Parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands, will be cut by about $20 million, almost certainly delaying or halting crucial conservation projects.

- Wetlands restoration: The North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, which provides federal grants to restore wetlands for fish and wildlife, would be cut by $3 million.

WHY IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE

The Natural Resource Defense Council maintains that further slashing already stressed conservation budgets doesn't make economic sense. The NRDC maintains that just 1.4 percent of all federal spending is dedicated to wildlife and land-use management and conservation. The National Park Service's budget is 1/14th of 1 percent of the national budget, while all federal expenditures that relate to oceans and coasts make up less than 0.5 percent, the NRDC says.
   
The National Wildlife Federation notes the sequester will be just the latest in a series of budget cuts, noting conservation programs were trimmed by more than 30 percent in the 2012 budget, even though "in 2011 alone, 90 million Americans (38 percent of the U.S. population age 16 and older) spent $145 billion -- 1 percent of GDP -- on wildlife-related recreation."
   
According to the NRDC, more than 300 million people visit U.S. national parks every year, supporting 258,000 jobs and $31 billion in economic activity. Also, the NRDC says, another 45 million people visit national wildlife refuges, generating $4.2 billion and sustaining 35,000 jobs.   
   
"There is little doubt that cuts would impact the hunting and fishing experience that Americans currently enjoy," write Jessica Goad, Michael Conathan, and Christy Goldfuss on americanprogress.org. "And cuts of this magnitude could potentially lead to a decline in the quality of wildlife habitat, fewer places that are protected for their hunting and fishing values, less law enforcement, poorly maintained hiking trails, deterioration of visitor facilities, fewer education programs, unprocessed hunting and access permits, and the basic disintegration of visitor experiences overall -- all of which means less revenue."

For more, go to:

-- The Quiet Crisis

-- The Fiscal Cliff And The Environment

-- Conservation Impacts of the Fiscal Cliff

-- 7 Ways that Looming Budget Cuts to Public Lands and Oceans Will Affect All Americans

-- Fish and Wildlife Trust Funds Threatened by Sequestration

Comments (12)

Top Rated
All Comments
from akferraro1 wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

1) The USA is borrowing .40 of every dollar we spend @ 1.3 trillion per year.

2) The automatic cuts amount to 2.4% of our annual budget and are back end loaded- mostly defense cuts.

3) This sequester was Obama's idea.

4) If you confiscated 100% the "millionaires and billionaires" income it would not fund government obligations.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Just to clarify my previous post, I don't have a problem with them "cutting" ANY programs, if needed. I just think this stupid sequester is being used by both parties as an excuse to avoid facing the REAL issues.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Delbert McCracken wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

This is one of the few articles I've read anywhere that spells out how the "sequestered" reductions in proposed spending could affect public lands and wildlife, so I appreciate the writer's efforts, even though I recognize the information as (largely) political spin by assorted agencies and groups with their own agendas.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckbull wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Hal Hering does the same thing over on F&S. Sometimes I wonder if these guys are on Obama's payroll.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from mcsidney wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

i am so sick of this tripe! First of all, we have no budget. Our Senate under Harry Reid has not passed a budget in 4 years. What we have is a temporary emergency spending authorization that is just that, temporary. It was never intended to be permanent. Next, Hartz above is right, this "cut" is only a reduction of the PROPOSED spending, not a cut to existing funding. Third, 25% of our PR Excise taxes go to USFWS for "administrative purposes. However, with the huge increase in gun and ammo sales, along with the increases in spending on fishing gear because more Americans are fishing, there should be an increase in PR funds, not a decrease. In fact the year over year increase should be in excess of $100 million. Fourth, there is huge waste at all levels of government, including USFWS, the Park Service, etc. Is somebody trying to tell us that there's no way to cut just 2.5% from their PROPOSED spending, which by the way is up almost 25% from just 4 years ago? Is there any one of us who makes $50,000 a year or more that couldn't find a way to cut $1000 out of their budget? Yes, it might mean fewer evenings out, fewer movies, more hamburger and chicken and less steak, but could we do it? And if we can, why can't our government? I'm so sick of this administration's fear mongering and their bleating, sycophantic sheep journalists and liberal supporters who have no sense of financial responsibility! No wonder we're dancing while the Titanic is sinking!

Sorry guys, needed to vent a little.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from James Sides wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

So what are they going to do with the Pittman -Robertson Funds they are there for Wildlife PERIOD

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jon A Hartz Sr. wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Your writer starts and finishes the article with a lie: there are no "cuts". There is a slowing of the rate of increase. He is obviously parroting the liberal tantrum over this minor action: 2% to 4% reduction in future spending RATE. These scare tactics are stupid. Get a writer that can be truthful and unbiased next time.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from LGIW wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

The Obama staff came up with the idea of sequestration.

And why would PR/DJ funds be cut, unless those dedicated funds are being raided like social security. Those programs may have been a good idea originally, but now sportsmen are getting ripped off on those programs too. In fact, they are paying for Endangered Species management as much or more so than game.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joel Olson wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

I get the feeling that the wildlife will be just fine without the feds to help them. Now maybe there won't be forest rangers closing off legal roads because they don't think I should be in that are of the PEOPLE'S land.

Please everyone remember that that is not government land...it is the people's land...and if you ever hear it called the government's land please correct the person that said it.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

huntfishtrap,
I gave you a +1 to cancel one of your negatives.
later,
charlie

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Unfortunately our country is broke, the Feds are spending $1.3 Trillion dollars more than they take in each year.
If you look at the budgets for the agencies sited in this post you'll find these are not operating cuts rather they are decreases in planned increases of future budgets over the next 10 years.
These "the sky is falling" scaremongers are disgusting. Besides the NPS, NWF & NRDC are not friends of hunters. So why are they quoted as experts?
later,
charlie

+8 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Yet another example of the stupidity and incompetence of our elected leaders. Instead of focusing the cuts on programs that really are full of waste and fat, like entitlements and defense, they just slash away aimlessly.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

from charlie elk wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Unfortunately our country is broke, the Feds are spending $1.3 Trillion dollars more than they take in each year.
If you look at the budgets for the agencies sited in this post you'll find these are not operating cuts rather they are decreases in planned increases of future budgets over the next 10 years.
These "the sky is falling" scaremongers are disgusting. Besides the NPS, NWF & NRDC are not friends of hunters. So why are they quoted as experts?
later,
charlie

+8 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joel Olson wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

I get the feeling that the wildlife will be just fine without the feds to help them. Now maybe there won't be forest rangers closing off legal roads because they don't think I should be in that are of the PEOPLE'S land.

Please everyone remember that that is not government land...it is the people's land...and if you ever hear it called the government's land please correct the person that said it.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jon A Hartz Sr. wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Your writer starts and finishes the article with a lie: there are no "cuts". There is a slowing of the rate of increase. He is obviously parroting the liberal tantrum over this minor action: 2% to 4% reduction in future spending RATE. These scare tactics are stupid. Get a writer that can be truthful and unbiased next time.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from mcsidney wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

i am so sick of this tripe! First of all, we have no budget. Our Senate under Harry Reid has not passed a budget in 4 years. What we have is a temporary emergency spending authorization that is just that, temporary. It was never intended to be permanent. Next, Hartz above is right, this "cut" is only a reduction of the PROPOSED spending, not a cut to existing funding. Third, 25% of our PR Excise taxes go to USFWS for "administrative purposes. However, with the huge increase in gun and ammo sales, along with the increases in spending on fishing gear because more Americans are fishing, there should be an increase in PR funds, not a decrease. In fact the year over year increase should be in excess of $100 million. Fourth, there is huge waste at all levels of government, including USFWS, the Park Service, etc. Is somebody trying to tell us that there's no way to cut just 2.5% from their PROPOSED spending, which by the way is up almost 25% from just 4 years ago? Is there any one of us who makes $50,000 a year or more that couldn't find a way to cut $1000 out of their budget? Yes, it might mean fewer evenings out, fewer movies, more hamburger and chicken and less steak, but could we do it? And if we can, why can't our government? I'm so sick of this administration's fear mongering and their bleating, sycophantic sheep journalists and liberal supporters who have no sense of financial responsibility! No wonder we're dancing while the Titanic is sinking!

Sorry guys, needed to vent a little.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from LGIW wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

The Obama staff came up with the idea of sequestration.

And why would PR/DJ funds be cut, unless those dedicated funds are being raided like social security. Those programs may have been a good idea originally, but now sportsmen are getting ripped off on those programs too. In fact, they are paying for Endangered Species management as much or more so than game.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckbull wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Hal Hering does the same thing over on F&S. Sometimes I wonder if these guys are on Obama's payroll.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Delbert McCracken wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

This is one of the few articles I've read anywhere that spells out how the "sequestered" reductions in proposed spending could affect public lands and wildlife, so I appreciate the writer's efforts, even though I recognize the information as (largely) political spin by assorted agencies and groups with their own agendas.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from James Sides wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

So what are they going to do with the Pittman -Robertson Funds they are there for Wildlife PERIOD

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from akferraro1 wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

1) The USA is borrowing .40 of every dollar we spend @ 1.3 trillion per year.

2) The automatic cuts amount to 2.4% of our annual budget and are back end loaded- mostly defense cuts.

3) This sequester was Obama's idea.

4) If you confiscated 100% the "millionaires and billionaires" income it would not fund government obligations.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Just to clarify my previous post, I don't have a problem with them "cutting" ANY programs, if needed. I just think this stupid sequester is being used by both parties as an excuse to avoid facing the REAL issues.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Yet another example of the stupidity and incompetence of our elected leaders. Instead of focusing the cuts on programs that really are full of waste and fat, like entitlements and defense, they just slash away aimlessly.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

huntfishtrap,
I gave you a +1 to cancel one of your negatives.
later,
charlie

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

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