The National Association of State Foresters was among more than 80 organizations that have penned a letter to Congress in support of the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program.
We urge Congress to support FIA with no less than $32.4 million in program dollars and no less than $52.9 million in salary and expenses in Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23). We recognize that these requests represent a significant increase in funding for FIA, but we believe it is warranted given the many demands currently being placed on the program despite inadequate resources for implementation. We further request that these increases not be realized at the expense of other critical programs under the Forest and Rangeland Research line item in the Forest Service budget, or any other state or private forestry programs funded by the Service that also support our nation’s forests.
Beginning in FY21, Congress restructured the Forest Service program budgets, separating salary and expenses from program funding. This means that FIA’s salary and expenses are now pooled together with all other salary and expenses in the Forest and Rangeland Research budget line. We are concerned by this, as the new structure presents challenges in providing consistency in staffing and hiring across each program to best ensure program delivery. In addition, the lack of a dedicated budget line item (BLI) reduces transparency for partners and Congress. We request that in FY23 you work with the Forest Service to establish a BLI for FIA that includes explicit funding levels for both program dollars and salaries and expenses. This would be commensurate with how other programs within Forest Service State and Private Forestry and National Forest Systems are treated in the new budget structure.
Read the letter in full by clicking the link below.