President’s Budget Underscores Need for Strong Conservation Funding
Natural resources conservation makes good economic sense, say sportsmen, citing need for collaboration by Congress in appropriations process
WASHINGTON – With the release today of the president’s budget, which recommends funding levels for the coming fiscal year, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is reiterating the need for strongly funded conservation programs that are key in upholding both America’s natural resources and the nation’s outdoors-reliant economy.
“Conservation of our natural resources is a smart move economically,” said Whit Fosburgh, TRCP president and CEO, “and one that most sportsmen willingly support. As Congress undertakes its review of the president’s budget, we stand together in urging strong, sustained funding for the programs that have the greatest potential to impact our fish and wildlife populations, our most important American landscapes and the jobs that depend on their concerted and responsible management.”
An economic study released last fall cites compelling figures regarding the economic value of the outdoors. Combined, outdoor recreation, natural resources conservation and historic preservation support 9.4 million American jobs, result in $1.06 trillion in economic impact and generate $107 billion annually in tax revenue. Of these totals, hunters and anglers alone account for close to $100 billion in economic activity.
Recognition by sportsmen of the importance of conservation – economically and otherwise – also is well documented. A poll of Western voters identifying as sportsmen shows that a majority supports upholding measures conserving clean air, clean water, natural areas and wildlife. More than nine in 10 respondents agree that public lands are an essential part of their state’s economy.
“With the start of appropriations season upon us, the need for sportsmen to unite in support of measures critical to sustaining our fish and wildlife populations, natural resources and outdoors traditions has never been greater,” said Dr. Steve Williams, president of the Wildlife Management Institute, former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and chairman of the TRCP policy council. “Many of these programs – including vital agricultural lands components of the Farm Bill such as the Conservation Reserve Program and Open Fields – recently had funding reduced or eliminated. Budgetary needs for key federal land management agencies – the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – also deserve careful consideration.
“Sportsmen urge members of Congress to put aside their differences and collaborate on a long-range approach for sustaining the natural resources that form our national identity and the outdoors-focused jobs that rely on them,” Williams continued. “Doing so invests in our nation’s economic future while perpetuating our forefathers’ conservation legacy.”
Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.