WASHINGTON—In response to President Barack Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget request, the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) issued the following statement:
“The President’s budget proposal should help State Foresters address some of the priorities outlined in each state’s Forest Action Plan, however, the request falls short in some key program areas,” said Paul DeLong, Wisconsin State Forester and NASF President.
In a time of increasing threats to our forests—wildfire, pests and disease and development—federal funding for state and private forestry programs is a wise investment that is more important than ever. State Foresters manage and protect two-thirds of the nation’s forests. The strategies defined in the Forest Action Plans ensure these investments are directed to where they are most needed, thus delivering a wide array of public values and benefits including clean air and water, wildlife habitat, places to recreate and good paying jobs.
“We appreciate the recommendation for increased investment in the Forest Inventory & Analysis, Forest Legacy, and national priority Landscape Scale Restoration Programs. However the administration’s budget proposal contained reduced funding levels to several programs including Urban and Community Forestry and Forest Stewardship. State Foresters are also disappointed by the insufficient funding levels for other programs including State Fire Assistance and Volunteer Fire Assistance, critically needed during an era of increased wildfire threat,” said DeLong.
Jay Farrell, NASF Executive Director said, “Wildfire suppression funding is an overarching issue that affects all State & Private Forestry Programs. The transfer of funds from non-suppression accounts to pay for disaster wildfires directly impacts every state forestry agency’s ability to deliver critical forest conservation and management programs. Until we fix the fire funding issue, forest managers will not be able to invest in critically needed proactive forest management projects.
“Congress must fix fire funding and do so now. State Foresters supported the bipartisan compromise proposed at the end of last year, which provides a good place to continue progress toward a resolution by July 4,” Farrell said.
Contact: Amanda Cooke, NASF Communications Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-624-5417