Ecosystem and biological research programs at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) could be cut by $28.8 million (-18 percent) if the House of Representative’s Interior and Environment Appropriations bill is enacted in its current form. This is a disproportionate reduction when compared with other USGS programs and with the agency as a whole.
The research and monitoring programs that comprise the Ecosystems account 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 it, our efforts to combat invasive species, manage endangered and threatened species, address wildlife diseases, or restore degraded landscapes would be severely hampered.
The proposed cuts to USGS research 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 38 states.
The House bill would spare a few biological programs at USGS from reductions. The invasive species and contaminant biology programs would both be flat 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.
Individuals interested in expressing support for the USGS can send letters to their United Sates Senators via the AIBS Legislative Action Center at http://capwiz.com/aibs/issues/alert/?alertid=61540211.
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