National Association of Conservation Districts Supportive of Omnibus Spending Bill that Invests in ConservationThu, 17 Dec 2015 09:49:35 CST
The National Association of Conservation Districts President Lee McDaniel offered support for the fiscal year 2016 (FY16) omnibus appropriations bill released yesterday that contains many important funding priorities for locally-led delivery of conservation assistance.
"After weeks of intense debate, I am pleased that lawmakers have finally reached an agreement on a spending bill for the remainder of the fiscal year," McDaniel said. "The investments Congress is making in conservation will enable conservation districts and our partners to provide cleaner water, improved soil health and wildlife benefits through locally-led delivery of conservation assistance to landowners."
"We are pleased to see that lawmakers are listening to conservation districts on key programs and initiatives tied to appropriations funding and the federal budget, but there is a lot of work yet to do in conveying the importance of all of these programs," McDaniel said. "Lawmakers need to understand the critical importance of programs like EQIP, and NACD will continue to work closely with legislators to advocate for the highest level of funding for priority programs."
While the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a critical mandatory farm bill conservation program, was cut there were several provisions in the bill worth highlighting:
an increase in Conservation Operations funding to $850,856,000;
an increase in funding for State and Private Forestry to $237,023,000;
an increase in funding for wildland fire management to $816,745,000;
continuation of current funding for the enrollment of 10 million acres in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP);
continuation of current funding levels for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 319 grants ($164,915,000);
and an allotment of $271,000,000 for emergency conservation funding programs including the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, the Emergency Conservation Program and the Emergency Forestry Restoration Program.
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