November is Manatee Awareness Month; but no matter what time of year it is, manatees deserve to be celebrated. These amazing creatures fulfill a unique niche by serving as indicator species for ecosystems across the United States. Because of their reliance on the health of their habitat, manatees often act as a signal of their environment’s well-being. NOAA photo by Michael Buchanan.
Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
This page points to items of interest concerning the Department of the Interior's budget. You may track the progress of this budget request through the Congressional appropriations process from this page.
The Department of the Interior "Budget in Brief" highlights and describes details of the fiscal year 2014 request.
Note: This document is presented as several separate PDF-formatted files. To view these files requires that you have Adobe Acrobat Reader® loaded on your computer.
Testimony from 2014 Budget Hearings
Statement of Kevin K. Washburn, Assistant Secretary Indian Affairs Department of the Interior Before the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Committee on Appropriations U.S. House of Representatives - February 27, 2013 (PDF-Format)
Statement of Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, Before the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies of the House Appropriations Committee Concerning the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request for the National Park Service - April 12, 2013 (PDF-Format)
Testimony of Dan Ashe, 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 2014 Budget of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - April 18, 2013 (PDF-Format)
Statement of Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior Before the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, Senate Committee on Appropriations on the 2014 President's Budget Request - May 7, 2013 (PDF-Format)
Statement of Neil G. Kornze, Principal Deputy Director Bureau of Land Management U.S. Department of the Interior Before the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Hearing on the FY 2014 Budget Request for the Bureau of Land Management - May 7, 2013 (PDF-Format)
FY 2014 Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program (PDF - 3Mbs)
Fiscal Year 2014 Energy & Water Development Appropriations Bill
On July 10, 2013, the House passed a fiscal 2014 Energy-Water spending measure that would provide $30.4 billion for the Energy Department, Interior Department and Army Corps of Engineers. Lawmakers backed the measure, 227-198, after considering more than 70 amendments.
The bill (HR 2609) is $2.9 billion less than the fiscal 2013 enacted level, excluding money spent on disaster relief, and $4.3 billion less than competing legislation in the Senate.
In House floor action, an amendment offered by: Ms. Noem (SD) was adopted by voice vote which increased BOR's Rural water program by $25 million.
Bureau of Reclamation
The House funded Reclamation at $981 million – $65 million (or 6.2%) below the President's request and $12 million (or 1.2%) below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level (including sequester). Similar to 2013, the House rejected separate accounts for the San Joaquin River Restoration Program and the Indian Water Rights Settlements, keeping the funding in Water & Related Resources. Also like 2013, the House eliminated the San Joaquin River Restoration Program funding of $26 million.
The House also rejected extension of the authorizations for the Drought Relief Act, the Water Desalination Act, and the Cal-Fed Bay-Delta Authorization Act, and the requested increase in ceiling for the Secure Water Act and Drought Relief Act. The House cut the Water & Related Resources request by 6.5% ($-58 million) with a few exceptions: Dam Safety was fully funded, however, certain WaterSMART programs were eliminated (Grants, Water Conservation Field Services and the new Shared Investment Water Innovation Program) as was the Desalination Program.
Central Utah Project Completion Act
The House mark would retain CUPCA as a separate program at $8.7 million, a $5.2 million or 249% increase over the 2014 Request and $12 million (or 58%) below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level (including sequester).
The “Indian Affairs FY 2014 Contract Support Cost Appropriation” table reflects the FY 2014 request for CSC and accompanies the new appropriations language. The table was prepared based on the FY 2014 budget request and an estimate of contract support costs under each Title I self-determination contract and Title IV self-governance funding agreement, relying on information available to Indian Affairs as of April 30, 2013. (PDF-Format)
Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Relief
The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (P.L. 113-2) provided $829.2 million for the Department of the Interior to address funding needs relating to response, recovery and mitigation of damages caused by Hurricane Sandy. In accordance with the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-240), the total amount available after the 2013 sequester is $786.7 million.
On May 7, 2013, the Department released $475.25 million of this funding for 234 projects that will repair and rebuild parks, refuges and other Interior assets damaged by the storm. The funding also provides investments in scientific data and studies to support recovery in the region, as well as historic preservation efforts. The strategic plan includes a list of approved projects.
The funding and projects identified in the strategic plans, allocate approximately 60 percent of Interior's Hurricane Sandy supplemental funding. The remaining funding will be allocated for mitigation projects that increase coastal resiliency and capacity to withstand future storm damage, and restore and rebuild public assets. (PDF-Format)
2013 Operating Plans
Section 1113(1) of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 (P.L. 113-6) requires transmittal of an operating plan showing the allocation of funding provided by Congress for 2013. On May 3, 2013, the Department of the Interior provided Congress the plans for the bureaus and offices within the jurisdiction of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee.
These plans provide funding information at the program, project or activity level as included in the Committee Support table which accompanies the Subcommittee's bill. Funding for 2013 reflects the allocation of the 2013 Continuing Resolution including an across the board reduction of 0.2 percent, and application of sequestration reductions pursuant to the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-240).