Summary of Presidential Budget Proposal’s Potential Impacts on Fisheries Programs

With the release Thursday of the President’s Budget Proposal, it is clear that federal agency budgets, regulation enforcement, and regional conservation initiatives are in serious jeopardy. [See table below for details of fisheries-related budget cuts.]

As interpreted by the Washington Post: “Climate change and ocean research would suffer sharp cuts… a reduction of 16 percent, or $1.5 billion, much of that targeted at the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration… eliminate $250 million in coastal research programs that prepare communities for rising seas and worsening storms, including the popular $73 million Sea Grant program, which works with universities in 33 states.”

Further, the “Trump budget proposal does not specify the extent of cuts to NOAA’s satellite programs, but those also appear likely to be substantial… Two other key NOAA divisions–the National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Weather Service–appear to escape with more minor cuts.”

As we look ahead, toward protecting our country’s fisheries and aquatic resources, AFS will be exploring solutions beyond the proposed perimeters. AFS will be watchful as more unfolds on Endangered Species Act programs, ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management, coastal fish habitat efforts–all of which have benefited from programs targeted in the proposed budget.

Department or Agency Percent Change Potential Fisheries Impacts
 

Department of Agriculture

  • U.S. Forest Service
 

-21%

 

  • Funds wildland fire preparedness and suppression activities at $2.4 billion, 100% of the 10-year average for suppression operations.
  • Reduces funding for the National Forest System, such as major new federal land acquisition.
 

Department of Commerce

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
 

-16%

 

  • Zeroes out over $250 million in targeted NOAA grants and programs supporting coastal and marine management, research, and education, including Sea Grant.
 

Department of the Interior

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • National Park Service
 

-12%

 

  • Eliminates Abandoned Mine Land grants, National Heritage Area funding, and National Wildlife Refuge Fund payments to local governments
  • For land management operations of the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management, the budget “streamlines operations while providing the necessary resources.”
  • The budget reduces land acquisition funding by more than $120 million, perhaps including the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  • Provides more than $900 million for the U.S. Geological Survey to focus on “essential science programs,” such as the Landsat 9 ground system, as well as research and data collection for energy development, resource management, and natural hazard risk reduction.
  • Increases funding for energy extraction on public lands and offshore waters.
  • Maintains wildlife conservation, historic preservation, and recreation grant voluntary programs that encourage partnerships by providing matching funds for federal dollars.
  • Budgets for wildland fire suppression expenses at the full 10-year rolling average of suppression expenditures.
  • Provides over $1 billion for management of water resources throughout the western United States
 

Environmental Protection Agency

 

-31%

 

  • Provides funding for drinking and wastewater infrastructure that would allow states, municipalities, and private entities to continue to finance infrastructure investments that protect human health. The budget includes $2.3 billion for the State Revolving Funds, a $4 million increase, and maintains $20 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program.
  • Reduces EPA’s enforcement of environmental protection violations to programs that are not delegated to states, while “providing oversight to maintain consistency and assistance across state, local, and tribal programs.” This reduces EPA’s Office of Enforcement Environmental Protection Agency and Compliance Assurance budget by $129 million to $419 million.
  • Eliminates funding for specific regional efforts such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Chesapeake Bay, and other geographic programs. These geographic program eliminations of $427 million would make responsibility for funding these local environmental efforts and programs fall on state and local entities.
  • Eliminates more than 50 other EPA programs.

Explanatory note:  This information in this table was taken from the Office of Management and Budget (White House) document, “America First – A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again” (https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/2018_blueprint.pdf ).

Additional interpretations of the document can be found at:

ESA Federal Budget Tracker:  http://www.esa.org/esablog/federal-budget-tracker-for-fy-2018/

TRCP:  http://www.trcp.org/2017/03/16/trumps-proposed-budget-cut-conservation-right-needed/