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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fish and Wildlife Service: FY2012 Appropriations and Policy

M. Lynne Corn
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

The annual Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriation funds agencies and programs in three federal departments, as well as numerous related agencies and bureaus. Among the more controversial agencies represented in the bill is the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in the Department of the Interior. For FWS appropriations in FY2012, on July 12, 2011 the House Appropriations Committee approved H.R. 2584 (H.Rept. 112-151) containing $1.19 billion for the agency, down 21% from the FY2011 level of $1.50 billion. In discussing the motivation for the broad reductions, the Committee stated in its report that “Congress must take immediate action to put our nation’s fiscal house in order by reducing Federal spending, balancing the budget, and creating jobs to put our economy on a sustainable, healthy course for the future.”

For FWS, each account was reduced to some degree relative to the FY2011 level. A few accounts or subaccounts were proposed for zero funding: listing and critical habitat designation under the Endangered Species Program, portions of the land acquisition program for the National Wildlife Refuge System, portions of the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (which funds grants to states for endangered species conservation), the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, and competitive state grants under the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants account.

This report analyzes the FWS funding levels contained in the FY2012 appropriations bill. Emphasis is on FWS funding for programs of interest to Congress, now or in recent years. Each of the related policy issues is explained in more detail in the report. Several current controversies over appropriations levels or funding restrictions are discussed in more detail, including elimination of funding for certain programs under the Endangered Species Act; funding levels for fish hatcheries, payments to counties in lieu of taxes, and land acquisition; and further restrictions concerning protection of gray wolves.

For FY2011, on April 14, 2011, the House and Senate both passed a full-year continuing appropriations measure, H.R. 1473, which was signed into law on April 15, 2011 as P.L. 112-10.

Date of Report: July 21, 2011
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: R41928
Price: $29.95

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