DOI News Header

Office Of The Secretary-For Immediate Release
Contact: Frank Quimby
Feb. 3, 2003

President’s 2004 Budget for Interior Emphasizes
Indian Trust Programs and Conservation Partnerships

WASHINGTON—President Bush’s proposed FY 2004 budget of $10.7 billion for the Department of the Interior provides dramatic funding increases for Indian trust programs and expands opportunities for conservation partnerships. It also enhances law enforcement and security for the Nation’s monuments and public lands and protects communities through increased funding for fire management. Through a Water Initiative, the proposed budget creates a foundation for innovations in water conservation, water management, and improved technology.
“Fulfilling Interior’s Trust responsibilities to American Indians is a number one priority. Our proposed $168.5 million increase for Trust management and related activities would bring our annual Trust budget to over one-half billion dollars,” Secretary Norton observed.
The proposed 2004 Interior budget also emphasizes Secretary Norton’s commitment to leaving a legacy of healthy lands and thriving communities. “This budget underscores the President’s commitment to Interior’s strategic missions of protecting natural and cultural resources, serving communities, and providing scientific information to decision makers,” Secretary Norton said in unveiling the budget proposal today.
“Preserving our natural resources, safeguarding communities from the ravages of wildfire, and improving security and law enforcement at our parks, refuges and national monuments are priority initiatives in the 2004 funding request,” Norton emphasized.
Key to achieving these goals is Secretary Norton’s vision of cooperative conservation. “Partnering across America, we can broaden our successes to conserve America’s natural, cultural, and historic treasures,” Secretary Norton noted. “Our $113.2 million Cooperative Conservation Initiative, which invests in several conservation grant programs, will help us extend a hand to work with the Nation’s many citizen stewards.”

Complementing the Department’s cooperative conservation commitments is a continued investment in taking care of National Parks. The President’s 2004 budget request proposes $705.8 million to fulfill the President’s pledge of addressing the maintenance backlog in the parks. It also requests $8.5 million more funding for the Natural Resource Challenge, bringing the cumulative total increase to the program under President Bush’s leadership to over $104 million.
“Building partnerships lies at the heart of all these efforts,” said Secretary Norton. “Interior’s strength lies in its 70,000 employees, 200,000 volunteers, and the many partnerships we are building with States, Tribes, local governments, affiliated Island communities, nonprofit organizations, and citizen stewards. Our budget provides the tools through which these partnerships can flourish,” Norton said.
The FY 2004 proposal of $10.7 billion is about 25 percent higher than the 2000 appropriations level of $8.6 billion, and represents an increase of $344 million, or 3.3 percent, over the amounts called for in the President’s 2003 budget request. Permanent funding that becomes available as a result of existing legislation without further action by the Congress will provide an additional $3 billion, for a total 2004 Interior budget of $13.7 billion.
Reflecting the Department’s multiple missions, the budget proposes $2.6 billion for resource protection to fund programs that improve the health of landscapes, sustain biological communities, and protect cultural resources.
The budget proposal also includes $5 billion to serve communities through fire protection, generation of scientific information, education investments for American Indians, and through activities to fulfill responsibilities toward American Indians, Alaskan natives, and the nation’s affiliated island communities.
Interior lands include many working landscapes where ranchers, energy partners, and other entrepreneurs help maintain thriving American communities and a dynamic economy. The 2004 proposed budget includes $1.5 billion for resource use, providing access to these resources and advancing the President’s National Energy Plan.
An $11 million Water Initiative would invest in desalination technology, water-saving technologies for irrigation systems, and strategies to improve water management. “No challenge in the 21st Century is greater than that of securing and managing water for our future,” said Secretary Norton. “Our Water Initiative will help us stretch existing water supplies.”
Another $1.4 billion in FY 2004 budget investments would improve access to recreational opportunities. This request includes a $5.2 million increase to the Bureau of Land Management, host of more than 60 million visitors annually, to provide recreational venues for a growing population in the West.

Major Initiatives in the 2004 Budget Proposal

Trust Programs—“Fulfilling our Trust responsibilities remains one of our greatest challenges,” Norton said. “We inherited a legacy of inadequate management of Trust accounts. We propose major investments to reverse that legacy. And, going forward, we need to create a more manageable Trust portfolio by consolidating lands, where feasible. Our budget lays the groundwork for this better future.”
The proposed $168.5 million increase for management reforms will help the Department meet its trust obligations to Tribes and individual Indians. This increase improves services to Tribes and individual Indians with $15 million to support reorganization of trust functions, providing an organization that meets fiduciary standards, is accountable at every level, and staffed with people trained in the principles of trust management.
Another $29.5 million will help rebuild Bureau of Indian Affairs information technology infrastructure to support trust and non-trust programs; and $4.5 million will accelerate a new strategy to administer, manage, search, retrieve, and store trust records.
An increase of $112.5 million for the Office of Historical Trust Accounting will support the Department’s plan to conduct a historical accounting for individual Indian money accounts and to account for funds in Tribal accounts. An additional $13 million for Indian land consolidation will expand pilot efforts to reduce the fractionation of individual land ownership interests into a nation-wide program.
Indian Education—The budget request includes $292.6 million in school construction funds for seven replacement school projects, and to repair schools identified in the Indian school maintenance backlog. The President’s goal is to eliminate the backlog by 2006. The budget request for Indian education continues the President’s commitment to Leave No Child Behind with a robust $528.5 million school operations budget request.
Cooperative Conservation—“Our budget lays the foundations for leaving a legacy of healthy lands and thriving communities,” Secretary Norton announced. “Our request presents a blueprint for fulfilling the President’s vision of a new environmentalism of citizen stewards and cooperative conservation. We are again proposing this Initiative, structuring it around our bureau Challenge Cost Share programs and our cooperative conservation grant programs.”
The Cooperative Conservation Initiative, funded at $113.2 million, will empower citizen stewards to conserve and protect natural resources while also achieving important community and economic goals. The Initiative builds on existing conservation partnership programs and will provide new and expanded opportunities for landowners, land managers, and others to

participate in projects that foster innovation and create incentives for stewardship and also provides funds for a public lands volunteers program.
Included in the CCI request is an increase of $9.1 million for the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, the largest increase ever provided to this program. The Fish and Wildlife Service will partner with 2,500 additional landowners on the program’s waiting list. These new partnerships will restore an additional 19,298 acres of wetlands; 83,601 acres of native grasslands, forest and other uplands; and 241 miles of riparian and in-stream habitat over 2003 levels.
Land and Water Conservation Fund—The President’s budget fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900.7 million. The LWCF proposal calls for $187.2 million for federal land acquisition in Interior and the USDA Forest Service and $160 million in traditional state grants (an increase of $10 million over FY 2003 budget proposal). Reflecting the President’s goals, the Interior LWCF program seeks to promote cooperative alliances, leave land on state tax roles, and achieve conservation goals by emphasizing innovative alternatives to fee simple title purchases, such as conservation easements and land exchanges. This emphasis also enables Interior land management agencies to focus more funds on caring for lands already under their management.
The LWCF budget includes $553.5 million for innovative conservation programs, including state and tribal wildlife projects, endangered species and wetlands conservation, USDA forest stewardship and urban and community forestry, private landowner stewardship and incentive grants as well as the Secretary’s Cooperative Conservation Initiative.
The Private Stewardship grants and the Landowner Incentive Program recognize continuing opportunities for conservation of endangered and threatened species through partnerships with private landowners. The budget request includes $50 million for Private Stewardship grants and the Landowner Incentive program. Interest in the State portion of the program is high, with over 80 grant requests received, totaling $61.0 million for the program’s first year.
Natural Resource Challenge—An $8.5 million increase is requested for the fifth year of the NPS Natural Resource Challenge. This program enhances monitoring of natural resources; helps eradicate exotic species; and provides natural resources information for the public. Beginning with the 2002 budget, the President has requested a cumulative total of $104.5 million for the Natural Resource Challenge.
NPS Backlog— The President’s budget proposes a $2.4 billion budget for the National Park Service, an increase of $8.3 million above the President’s FY 2003 proposal that also maintains a historically high commitment of $705.8 million to address the maintenance backlog in the parks. The budget requests an additional $9 million for cyclic maintenance. This increase will provide

additional funds for regular maintenance activities and will help the NPS keep pace with its maintenance needs and prevent additional projects from becoming deferred.
The budget includes an additional $8.2 million for the repair and rehabilitation program, including a $2.6 million increase for comprehensive condition assessments at parks. Data collected through the condition assessments will be used in 2004 to evaluate progress in eliminating the deferred maintenance backlog.
Refuge Centennial—March 14, 2003 marks a milestone in the history of wildlife conservation in America—the Centennial anniversary of the national wildlife refuge system. The 2004 budget builds on last year’s historic $56.5 million budget increase for the national wildlife refuge system by requesting a total of $402.0 million for refuge operations and maintenance, an increase of $25.5 million over 2003. The total budget request for the Fish and Wildlife Service is $1.3 billion.
Invasive Species—The Department is participating in an interagency performance budget on invasive species coordinated by the National Invasive Species Council. The performance budget links spending levels with levels of performance. The 2004 budget proposes $9 million for the Department’s portion in this interagency effort. The increase will allow Interior to participate in the control and management of tamarisk and giant slavinia in the southwest; to conduct ballast water research; to control and eradicate nutria in the Chesapeake Bay and in Louisiana; to plan for early detection and rapid response to eradicate outbreaks of sudden oak death in eastern hardwood forests of the Central Appalachian Mountains; and to develop a marine invasive species early detection warning system.
Conserving America’s Fisheries—The 2004 budget enhances the federal contribution to aquatic resource conservation partnerships, by providing an $8.8 million increase for the FWS fisheries program. The request includes an $8.1 million increase for the national fish hatchery system for priority recovery and restoration tasks; increasing fishing opportunities for the public; and advancing shared applied science. Also included is a $1 million increase to combat aquatic nuisance species, part of the larger, coordinated interdepartmental effort.
Office of Surface Mining: The President’s budget request for OSM would allocate $281.2 million in FY 2004 for state and federal programs to protect the environment during coal mining, assure prompt reclamation after mining, and clean up abandoned mine lands. This is $1.8 million more than the amount budgeted for FY 2003. The 2004 request includes $106.7 million for the Regulation and Technology Account and $174.5 million for the Abandoned Mine Land Account. The request will enable OSM to continue directly administering federal regulatory and reclamation programs in states that do not operate their own surface mining programs as well as on federal and Indian lands.

Healthy Forests/Wildland Fire— “Through partnerships we are enhancing our fire program,” Secretary Norton said. “Building a legacy of healthy lands and thriving communities means applying a healing hand to the landscape. We are doing that through our Healthy Forests Initiative.”
The budget proposes $698.7 million for wildfire prevention and suppression and Healthy Forest initiatives in fiscal year 2004, a $45 million—or 7 percent—increase over last year’s budget proposal. The request includes continued funding for a robust fuels treatment program at $186.2 million—400 percent above spending in 2000—to lessen the risk of catastrophic wildfire. The proposal also calls for $282.7 million for fire preparedness, including an increase of $5 million for aviation contract costs; $195.3 million for fire suppression; $24.5 million for rehabilitating burned areas; and $10 million for Rural Fire Assistance.
Law Enforcement—The budget calls for increases of $46.2 million for Interior’s law enforcement and security programs. The money would be used to hire additional personnel, provide more training, improve law enforcement operations in border areas and key visitor sites, and fund security construction projects. About $26.8 million is slated for infrastructure improvements at the Jefferson National Expansion Area in St. Louis, Mo.; Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pa.; and the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.; $13.3 million is earmarked for strengthening law enforcement and security operations at key Interior visitor sites; and $6 million would be used to increase protection and law enforcement at Interior parks along U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada.
Science and Stewardship: All of the Department’s efforts require good information. Scientific information is the cornerstone for Interior’s natural resource management activities, providing a basis for making decisions about resource protection, resource use, recreation, and community-based programs. The USGS has the principle responsibility within Interior to provide its bureaus the earth and natural science information and research necessary to manage the Nation’s natural resources.
The President’s 2004 budget proposes $895.5 million for the USGS, a net increase of $28.2 million over the FY 2003 request. That includes a $4.1 million increase to expand invasive species research and develop a model for a national early warning invasive species detection network for land managers. It also includes a $3 million increase for the Science on the DOI Landscape initiative to provide dedicated funds for enhanced science support to Interior’s bureaus to meet their high-priority science needs.
Western Water— Including the special $11 million water initiative, our budget proposes $878 million for the Bureau of Reclamation, including $58 million for the Animas-La Plata Project; $170.1 million for the Central Valley Project; $20.8 million for the Klamath Project; $34.1 million for Central Arizona Project: $17.4 million for the Middle Rio Grande Project; and $15 million for the California Bay-Delta Restoration Project.

Energy Development—The 2004 budget request includes a net increase of $3.6 million for BLM energy-related programs, including expanded energy development on the Alaska North Slope. The increase will help support the development of renewable energy on public lands and accelerate the processing of applications for permits-to-drill.
The budget for the Minerals Management Service proposes a program increase of $4.8 million to meet increased workload brought about by the demand for Outer Continental Shelf program services, to employ innovative business processes and advances in electronic technology in the offshore program, and to investigate the energy resource potential found in methane hydrate formations. The MMS will also invest $3 million to operate and maintain its minerals revenue management and royalty-in-kind systems.
The 2004 BIA request includes a $2 million increase for grants to Tribes to evaluate mineral resource potential on tribal trust and restricted lands. The request also includes $1 million to help Tribes expedite the development of tribal regulations governing mineral leasing and permitting, and rights-of-way of tribal lands required under the Energy Policy Act, 2002.
Recreation—The 2004 request includes a number of investments in BLM, NPS, and FWS programs to improve access to Interior lands and enhance recreational opportunities and experiences at parks, refuges, and on public lands, while protecting vital natural and cultural resources. A net increase of $5.2 million will enable BLM to provide quality recreation opportunities and will enhance public health and safety for the growing number of outdoor enthusiasts who utilize BLM administered lands for a variety of purposes.
Payment in Lieu of Taxes—The President’s proposal calls for $200 million to compensate states for federal lands that cannot be taxed by local governments, an increase of $35 million over the proposed 2003 budget. The FY 2004 budget proposal would move the program from BLM to Department Management accounts to reflect the fact that the lands on which the payments are made are administered by the NPS, FWS, and USDA Forest Service, as well as by the Bureau of Land Management.
Summary—“Our ability to leave a legacy of healthy lands and thriving communities depends on how well we work together across landscapes and across communities,” Secretary Norton noted as she set forth the Department’s 2004 proposed budget. “Our 2004 budget provides a blueprint and lays the foundations for those partnerships.”