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Fiscal 2012 Appropriations: FWS





TESTIMONY OF ROWAN GOULD, ACTING DIRECTOR,

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

BEFORE THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE

INTERIOR SUBCOMMITTEE,

REGARDING THE FISCAL YEAR 2012 BUDGET OF THE

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

March 16, 2011

Good morning Chairman Simpson, Mr. Moran, and Members of the Subcommittee. I am Rowan

Gould, Acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). I appreciate the

opportunity to testify before you today on the Service's Fiscal Year 2012 budget request. I

would also like to thank the Subcommittee for its continued support of our mission to conserve,

protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the

American people.

The Service's FY 2012 budget request will focus funding on the agency's highest priority

conservation initiatives, while containing costs through management efficiencies and other

savings. This is a very difficult budget year, as the Committee well knows. It does not come

without some sacrifice on the part of the Service. The $1.7 billion request contains $26.5 million

in efficiency reductions, along with along with program reductions and eliminations that total

$86.5 million. Program increases for our high priority needs result in a net increase of $47.9

million compared to the FY 2010 enacted budget. The budget also includes approximately $1

billion available under permanent appropriations, most of which will be provided directly to

States for fish and wildlife restoration and conservation.

The budget principally focuses on large-scale, conservation efforts by supporting the President's

America's Great Outdoors initiative. Additionally, an increase in Cooperative Landscape

Conservation will enable the Service to continue working with partners to conduct collaborative,

landscape-scale biological planning and information gathering by completing a national network

of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) initiated in FY 2010.

The President's America's Great Outdoors initiative provides the Service with $140 million from

the Land and Water Conservation Fund for Federal land acquisitions the Service has identified as

having the greatest conservation benefits, and $15.7 million, an increase of $2.5 million to

support Youth in the Great Outdoors by providing a platform and programs to orient children

and young adults to the importance of fish and wildlife conservation and encourage careers in

natural science.

The budget proposes an increase of $4.0 million for activities associated with renewable energy

development, including $2.0 million for the Endangered Species Consultation program to

support development of renewable energy projects and $2.0 million for Conservation Planning

Assistance (CPA). The increase for the CPA program will enable the Service to participate more

fully in priority landscape level planning to assist industry and State fish and wildlife agencies'

siting of energy projects and transmission corridor infrastructure, aiding in the President's

mission for increased renewable energy development.

The budget will also support large-scale ecosystem restoration projects as examples of the

Service's commitment to a landscape-scale, science-driven, partner-engaged approach to

conservation. Some of these projects include efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the

California Bay-Delta region, where water supply, healthy watershed and sustainable populations

of fish and wildlife are being addressed.

The Service recognizes the need to make difficult choices during challenging economic times.

In support of the President's commitment to fiscal discipline and spending restraint, the Service

is participating in an aggressive Department-wide effort to curb non-essential administrative

spending. In accordance with this initiative, the Service's FY 2012 budget assumes $26.5 million

in savings, built upon management efficiencies the Service began implementing in FY 2011.

Savings will be realized in several areas, including travel, employee relocation, and supplies.

Cooperative Landscape Conservation

The requested funding increase of $10.2 million will enable the Service to continue working with

partners to conduct collaborative landscape-scale biological planning and conservation design by

completing the network of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives initiated in FY 2010.

LCCs will continue to act as a focal point for collaborative work with partners, to disseminate

applied science products and tools for resource management decisions across landscapes. This

collaboration allows partners to target resources on activities that will produce the greatest

benefits for fish and wildlife for the American people. Within the Service, LCCs help support

and augment many ongoing programs, including Endangered Species Recovery Plans, Refuge

Comprehensive Conservation Plans, fish passage programs and habitat restoration.

Adaptive Science

With an additional $7.2 million in funding, the Service will be able to acquire the necessary

science to make better conservation decisions. The funding will be used to acquire risk and

vulnerability assessments, conduct inventory and monitoring, develop population and habitat

assessments and models, design conservation measures, evaluate management options for LCC

partners, and increase our understanding of conservation genetics.

National Wildlife Refuge System

National Wildlife Refuge System – Funding for the operation and maintenance of the national

wildlife refuge system is requested at $502.9 million. The request includes an increase of $6.5

million, for National Wildlife Refuges (Refuges) operations, enabling Refuges to complete

additional habitat improvement projects. An additional $2.0 million will be used for the FWS

youth program to engage young Americans in conservation by offering public service

opportunities, science-based education, and outdoor learning laboratories. The request includes

an increase of $1.5 million for Chesapeake Bay restoration and $750,000 for Gulf Coast

restoration activities at Refuges. With 10 National Wildlife Refuges along the Gulf coast line,

protecting more than 300,000 acres, the Service is committed to working towards repairing the

damage caused by the unprecedented Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. Additionally,

an increase of $2.0 million is also requested for deferred maintenance at Refuges.

Refuge Inventory and Monitoring Program

In support of LCC development and adaptive science management, the requested increase of

$8.0 million within the Refuge program will be used to continue building the landscape scale,

long-term inventory and monitoring network that the Service began in FY 2010.

National Wildlife Refuge Fund

The Service proposes the elimination of the entire appropriated portion ($14.5 million) of the

National Wildlife Refuge Fund. The Fund was originally conceived to assist communities in lieu

of taxes for lands acquired and managed by the Service. Over time, however, Refuges have been

found to generate tax revenue for communities far in excess of tax losses from Federal land

ownership. Refuge lands provide many public services, such as watershed protection, and place

few demands on local infrastructure when compared to development that is more intensive.

Importantly, refuges bring a multitude of visitors to nearby communities, providing substantial

economic benefits. Recreational spending on Refuges generates millions of dollars in tax

revenue at the local, county, State and Federal levels. The mandatory receipts collected and

allocated to States under the program would remain.

Law Enforcement

The Service budget request provides $62.6 million for the law enforcement program to

investigate wildlife crimes and enforce the laws that govern the Nation's wildlife trade. The

request is $3.1 million below the 2010 enacted level, which reflects the elimination of funding

for a new class of agents who were hired in 2010.

Endangered Species

The FY 2012 budget includes $182.7 million to administer the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a

net increase of $3.3 million over the 2010 enacted level. This includes a $2.0 million increase for

renewable energy consultation and $3.4 million for ecosystem-specific consultation and

recovery.

The Service also is requesting an increase in funding for the Endangered Species Listing

Program, to reflect the increasingly large number of Endangered Species Act (ESA) petitions

being received. Between 1994 and 2006, the Service received an average of 17 petitions

annually, covering an average of 20 species per year. In contrast, since 2007 the Service has been

petitioned to add more than 1,230 species to the list of threatened and endangered species, more

species than the Service listed during the previous 30 years of administering the Act. With

additional funding, the Service projects to complete 39 additional 90-day and 12-month petition

findings, while also initiating proposed listing determinations for 93 species.

Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Conservation

The budget request includes a total of $136.0 million for the Fisheries and Aquatic Resource

Conservation program, a decrease of $12.2 million from the 2010 enacted level. Facilitating the

Service's role and responsibility in promoting ecosystem health, fisheries, and aquatic resource

conservation, the budget includes increases for the Chesapeake Bay and California Bay-Delta

program as well as an additional $2.9 million for Asian carp activities in the Great Lakes.

Moreover, the budget proposes an increase of $380,000 to protect polar bears in compliance with

the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

National Fish Hatchery Operations – Mitigation

The FY 2012 request contains a reduction of funding for National Fish Hatchery general

program activities of nearly $6.8 million. At several of its hatcheries, the Service produces fish to

mitigate the adverse effects of Federal water development projects constructed by other Federal

agencies. States depend on these activities to stock fisheries which provide economic benefit to

local communities. At the direction of Congress, the Service is working to recover costs from the

Federal agencies that built and operate these water infrastructure projects. The U.S. Army Corps

of Engineers (Corps), the largest customer for these mitigation fish, has $3.8 million in its 2012

request to fund mitigation fish production. The Service will continue ongoing discussions with

the Corps as well as the Tennessee Valley Authority, Central Utah Project Completion Act, and

the Bonneville Power Administration to seek reimbursement and negotiate reimbursable

agreements for the operation of mitigation fish hatcheries.

Migratory Birds

The Migratory Birds program is funded at $54.4 million, just slightly below the FY 2010 enacted

level. The North American Wetlands Conservation Fund is funded at $50 million, $2.4 million

over the FY 2010 enacted level. The North American Wetlands Conservation grant program

plays a vital role addressing wetland habitat loss, with every grant dollar matched 1:1, and in

some programs as much as 4:1.

International Affairs

The budget request provides the International Affairs program with just under $13.0 million, a

net decrease of $1.4 million from the 2010 enacted level. The Multinational Species

Conservation Fund is funded at $9.8 million, a decrease of $1.8 million.

Coastal Impact Assistance Program

Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to distribute

$250 million for each of the fiscal years 2007 through 2010 to states and their coastal political

subdivisions (CPS) with oil production in the OCS off their shores. This money is available to

Alabama, Alaska, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas by formula for ecosystem

restoration projects.

This program has been implemented from its inception by the Bureau of Ocean Energy

Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), formally the Minerals Management

Service (MMS). However, in FY 2012, the Coastal Impact Assistance Program will be

transferred to the Fish and Wildlife Service as the purpose of the CIAP aligns more directly with

the mission of the Service. The two bureaus are working together to implement the transfer as

quickly and smoothly as possible. The transfer will allow BOEMRE to focus on programs more

directly aligned with its regulatory and enforcement mission.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify this afternoon. I am happy to answer any questions the

Subcommittee may have and look forward to working with you through the appropriations

process.

 


U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs
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