Ecosystem and biological research programs at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) could be cut by $10.7 million, a disproportionately large budget cut, if the House of Representative’s Interior and Environment Appropriations bill is enacted in its current form. When the proposed spending cuts are considered with the reductions enacted in the 2011 Continuing Resolution, the budget for USGS Ecosystems activities (which consists largely of the programs previously housed within the Biological Resources Discipline), would decline by 9.3 percent over two years. This is a disproportionate reduction when compared with other USGS programs and with the agency as a whole.

The research and monitoring programs that comprise the Ecosystems account within USGS are vital to the nation. These scientific activities help decision makers within other Interior bureaus, states, local governments, and the private sector to understand the status of our living resources. Much of this information is only collected by the USGS. Without it, our efforts to combat invasive species, manage endangered and threatened species, address wildlife diseases, or restore degraded landscapes would be severely hampered.

The proposed cuts to USGS research include:

  • $4.8 million from wildlife and terrestrial endangered species research
  • $1.0 million from aquatic and endangered resources research
  • $0.2 million from research on invasive species
  • $1.4 million from monitoring of species and habitat status and trends
  • $4.7 million from the Cooperative Research Units (partnerships between universities, states, and USGS to conduct biological research in 38 states)

Terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystem studies would receive an additional $1.5 million relative to FY 2011.

The House of Representatives could consider the fiscal year 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill in the next few weeks. Please take a few minutes to contact your Representative to share your concerns about these proposed cuts and to encourage them to oppose spending cuts to biological and ecosystems research at the USGS.

Send a letter to your Representative today to express your concern.  Simply go to http://capwiz.com/aibs/issues/alert/?alertid=51503521.