U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: FY2021 Appropriations

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March 20, 2020
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: FY2021 Appropriations
Introduction
Figure 1. FWS Discretionary Funding: Enacted and
Congress generally funds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Administration Requests, FY2011-FY2020, and
Service (FWS, an agency within the Department of the
FY2021 Administration Request
Interior [DOI]) in annual appropriations laws for the
Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related
Agencies. Discretionary appropriations for FWS fund many
of the essential functions related to the agency’s mission,
namely the conservation, protection, and enhancement of
fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats. Discretionary
funding covers activities such as resource management and
conservation, construction projects, land acquisition, and
payments and grants to states and other parties. FWS also
receives mandatory appropriations, most of which are used
to provide funding to states. The Administration’s FY2021
request estimates $1.468 billion in mandatory
appropriations for FWS in FY2021. This In Focus looks at
the agency’s discretionary appropriations.
Issues for Congress include the level of discretionary

funding for FWS, its distribution across agency programs,
and the Administration’s proposals to provide no funding
Sources: CRS, with data from FWS budget justifications and enacted
appropriations during these fiscal years.
for selected activities. Congress also may consider the
creation of the Public Lands Infrastructure Fund as
For FY2020, P.L. 116-94 provided $1.644 billion in
proposed in the Administration’s FY2021 request.
discretionary appropriations across nine accounts for FWS
(Table 1). For FY2021, the Administration requested
FWS Discretionary Appropriations
$1.379 billion in discretionary appropriations across seven
From FY2011 through FY2020, FWS received $1.518
accounts, which was $264.9 million (16.1%) less than the
billion annually, on average, in discretionary funding
FY2020 enacted level.
(Figure 1). Enacted levels exceeded requests in four years,
and requested levels were higher than enacted in six years.
Table 1. FWS Appropriations by Account, FY2020 Enacted and FY2021 Administration Request
Account
FY2020 Enacted
FY2021 Request

Nominal $
% of
Nominal $
% of
in Millions
Total
in Millions
Total
Resource Management
$1,364.3
83.0%
$1,281.2
92.9%
Construction
29.7
1.8%
13.3
1.0%
Land Acquisition
67.1a
4.1%
10.9a
0.8%
Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund
35.7a
2.2%
-8.0a
-0.6%
National Wildlife Refuge Fund
13.2
0.8%
0.0
0.0%
North American Wetlands Conservation Fund
46.0
2.8%
40.0
2.9%
Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Fund
4.9
0.3%
3.9
0.3%
Multinational Species Conservation Fund
15.0
0.9%
6.0
0.4%
State and Tribal Wildlife Grants
67.6
4.1%
31.3
2.3%
Total
1,643.5
100%
1,378.6
100%
Sources: CRS, with data from explanatory statement accompanying H.R. 1865 (P.L. 116-94) and FWS FY2021 budget justification.
a. This figure includes a rescission/cancellation of unobligated balances.
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Resource Management Account
offset program for county, state, tribal, and international
The Resource Management (RM) account comprises the
partners and other stakeholders (Table 1).
majority of the FWS discretionary budget ($1.364 billion
[83.0%] of the $1.644 billion enacted in FY2020; Table 1).
Accounts and Activities with No
For FY2021, the Administration requested $1.281 billion,
Requested Funding in FY2021
$83.1 million (6.1%) less than the FY2020-enacted level. In
For FY2021, the Administration did not request funding for
FY2020, the RM account provided funding for eight
two of FWS’s nine discretionary appropriations accounts—
activities (Table 2). The FY2021 request did not include
the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund
funding for two activities funded in FY2020—Cooperative
(CESCF) and the National Wildlife Refuge Fund
Landscape Conservation and Science Support (Table 2).
(NWRF)—in order “to support higher priorities.” The
request also proposed a cancellation of $8.0 million in
Table 2. FWS Resource Management Appropriations
CESCF unobligated balances. Further, the Administration
by Activity, FY2020 Enacted and FY2021 Request
requested no funding for seven activities that received
(nominal $ in millions)
funding in FY2020 across three other accounts (Table 3).
FY2020
FY2021
Table 3. Activities with No Requested Funding in
Activity
Enacted
Request
FY2021 Request with FY2020 Enacted Funding Level
(nominal $ in millions)
Ecological Services
$266.0
$244.1
Habitat Conservation
70.3
70.2
Activity (Account in
FY2020
FY2021
Parentheses)
Enacted
Request
National Wildlife Refuge System
502.4
525.3
Cooperative Landscape
$12.5
$0.0
Conservation and Enforcement
148.3
145.4
Conservation (RM)
Fish and Aquatic Conservation
205.5
156.1
Science Support (RM)
17.3
0.0
Cooperative Landscape Conservation
12.5
0.0
Land Protection Planning (LA)
0.5
0.0
Science Support
17.3
0.0
Exchanges (LA)
1.5
0.0
General Operation
142.0
140.1
Highlands Conservation Act (LA)
10.0
0.0
Total
1,364.3
1,281.2
Land Acquisition Projects (LA)
31.3
0.0
Sources: CRS, with data from explanatory statement accompanying
Tribal Wildlife Grants (STWG)
5.2
0.0
H.R. 1865 (P.L. 116-94) and FWS FY2021 budget justification.
Sources: CRS, with data from explanatory statement accompanying
Other FWS Accounts
H.R. 1865 (P.L. 116-94) and FWS FY2021 budget justification.
The remaining discretionary funding for FWS is divided
Notes: RM = Resource Management; LA = Land Acquisition; STWG
among eight other appropriations accounts (Table 1).
= State and Tribal Wildlife Grants.
Funding levels in the Administration’s FY2021 request are
lower than the enacted levels for six accounts, and the
Legislative Proposal
Administration proposed no funding for two accounts.
The Administration included one legislative proposal in the
FY2021 FWS request. The proposal would create the
In FY2020, the Construction account received $29.7
Public Lands Infrastructure Fund to address the over $18
million in discretionary funding. Construction account
billion in deferred maintenance needs of the DOI and the
appropriations support engineering design and construction
U.S. Department of Agriculture. The budget request states,
throughout FWS facilities and infrastructure through three
“the Fund will be supported by the deposit of 50 percent of
activities: Line Item Construction Projects, Bridge and Dam
all federal energy development revenue that would
Safety Programs, and Nationwide Engineering Services.
otherwise be credited or deposited as miscellaneous receipts
For FY2021, the Administration requested $13.3 million (a
to the Treasury over the 2021-2025 period, subject to an
decrease of $16.4 million, or 55.3%; Table 1).
annual limit of $1.3 billion.” The fund would support
infrastructure improvements on certain federal lands,
Funding for the Land Acquisition account is used to acquire
including wildlife refuges. This is a DOI-wide initiative,
land for recreation and conservation purposes. The Land
and similar language is included in the FY2021 DOI Budget
Acquisition account received $67.1 million in FY2020,
in Brief and other DOI agency requests. In the 116th
which included a $3.6 million cancellation of unobligated
Congress, legislation has been introduced with a similar
balances. The Administration’s FY2021 request is $10.9
objective (H.R. 1225, S. 500, and S. 3422). However, some
million, which includes a $2.0 million cancellation of
details differ between the Administration’s proposal and the
unobligated balances. The requested amount would be a
introduced bills.
decrease of $56.2 million, or 83.7% (Table 1). The FY2021
request did not include funding for four land acquisition
R. Eliot Crafton, Analyst in Natural Resources Policy
activities that received funding in FY2020 (Table 3).
IF11470
The other six accounts fund conservation activities,
financial and technical assistance programs, and a tax losses
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: FY2021 Appropriations


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