The Wilderness Society, along with a coalition of environmental and conservation organizations, has released their recommendations for the fiscal year 2013 budget.
“The ‘Green Budget’ is a guide for Congress as they being working on the federal budget for next year, reminding them of the important conservation and environmental programs that provide over a trillion dollars worth of benefits to American communities across the country,” said Alan Rowsome, director of conservation funding for The Wilderness Society.
“Conservation programs provide some of the greatest return on investment,” said Rowsome. “They might only be a fraction of the overall budget but provide jobs and benefits measured in trillions of dollars.”
Despite being only 1.26% of the total federal budget, conservation programs have been the target of cuts in recent years.
“Even in a tight fiscal climate, these are programs that consistently show proven economic and job-creating benefits,” said Rowsome. “The outdoor recreation economy – hunters, anglers, hikers, bikers, campers, and many more – contribute more than $730 billion to the economy every year, and that all depends on healthy wildlands supported by federal conservation programs.”
Some of the programs that the report highlights are:
- The Land and Water Conservation Fund: Responsible for creating and expanding many of the iconic wild places in America today, this popular program has bipartisan appeal.
- Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program: Encourages collaborative and science based ecosystem restoration of priority national forest landscapes while benefitting local communities.
- National Landscape Conservation System: Provides critical wildlife habitat, clean water, and recreation opportunities as well as astounding historic and cultural resources.
“Conservation programs have a proven legacy of economic success, even when the economy has struggled. It is important that Congress continue to fund these programs at the highest levels possible to ensure that success continues,” said Rowsome.