State foresters applaud members of Congress and their staffs for advancing a Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriations package that will support the health, resiliency, and productivity of our nation’s forests.
WASHINGTON—On Friday, President Donald Trump signed an appropriations package into law that will fund the federal government through September 30, averting another partial government shutdown and providing much needed support for natural resources management and protection nationwide.
“With this legislation, Congress funded each of the state foresters’ priority federal programs at levels consistent with, or greater than, those enacted in FY 2018,” said Lisa Allen, NASF president and Missouri state forester. “The nation’s 59 state and territorial foresters are grateful to our lawmakers and their staffs for their hard work in getting this appropriations package across the finish line. We truly believe America’s forests and trees will be healthier and more resilient for their efforts.”
Per the appropriations package, the Landscape Scale Restoration program will receive $14 million in funding for FY 2019, the same level enacted in FY 2018. Funding levels for the Forest Stewardship program ($20.5 million) and the Forest Inventory and Analysis program ($77 million) were also maintained at FY 2018 levels for FY 2019. The following programs will receive modest, but impactful funding increases:
- The Forest Health Management Program on Cooperative Lands received $42 million for FY 2019, an increase of $1 million over the FY 2018 enacted level. This program helps state forestry agencies detect, prevent, and/or control the spread of tree-killing insects and disease.
- The Forest Legacy program received $63.99 million for FY 2019, an increase of $1.5 million over the FY 2018 enacted level (which included rescissions). This program helps state forestry agencies protect working forestlands through permanent conservation easements and fee acquisitions.
- The Urban and Community Forestry program received $29.5 million for FY 2019, an increase of $1 million over the FY 2018 enacted level. With this program, state forestry agencies help communities establish and manage community forests, which collectively benefit 83 percent of Americans.
- The State Fire Assistance program received $81 million and the Volunteer Fire Assistance program received $17 million for FY 2019, increases of $1 million each over the programs’ FY 2018 enacted levels. With support from these programs, states and local fire departments procure necessary equipment and training for wildland fire prevention, detection, and suppression.
“This appropriations package shows that Congress is committed to making our forests healthier and our communities safer,” said Jay Farrell, NASF executive director. “On top of funding increases for five of the USDA Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry programs, Congress allocated additional resources to reduce hazardous wildfire fuels and bolster wildland fire preparedness and suppression across national forests and non-federal lands. These resources will help state forestry agencies provide wildland fire protection across ownership boundaries and perform cross-boundary fuels mitigation where it’s needed most.”
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