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Proposed funding cuts to USGS

Published On: 7/13/2012

Projected funding cuts to USGS biological and ecosystem research

A proposed House of Representative's Interior and Environment Appropriations bill could cut biological research programs at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) by $28.8 million (18 percent decrease) if the bill is passed in its current form. This cut to biological research funding in 2013 is disproportionate in funding reduction when compared with other USGS programs.

The research and monitoring programs that comprise biological research within USGS are vital to the nation. These scientific activities help decision makers within other Interior bureaus, states, local governments, and the private sector to understand the status of our living resources. Much of this information is only collected by the USGS. Without the USGS, efforts to combat invasive species, manage endangered and threatened species, address wildlife diseases, or restore degraded landscapes would be severely hindered. Some rhetoric in the House connects environment with the obstruction of job creation.  However, a case may be made that that knowing about the environment doesn't mean job losses; it can mean improved stewardship, better land use, and more cost-effective and smart natural resource management.

Proposed budget cuts to research at the USGS include:
• $8.5 million from wildlife and terrestrial endangered species research;
• $7.5 million from terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystem studies;
• $4.6 million from fisheries research;
• $4.4 million from monitoring of species and habitat status and trends; and
• $3.8 million from the Cooperative Research Units, which are partnerships among universities, states, and USGS to conduct biological research in most states.

The House bill would save a few biological programs at USGS from reductions. The invasive species and contaminant biology programs would remain funded at the 2012 level. Notably, the biological information management and delivery program would receive a $5.6 million increase.

The House Appropriations Committee approved the legislation at the end of June. The timeline for further action by the House of Representatives is currently unclear, but the Senate Appropriations Committee could consider their version of the fiscal year 2013 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill in the next few weeks.

You can voice your concerns for these proposed cuts to important biological research at the USGS at the AIBS website.

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