Friday, December 23, 2022

National Assn. Of Conservation Districts Applauds Strong Conservation Investments In Final Federal Spending Bill

On December 23, the
National Association of Conservation Districts applauded Congress for passing a FY2023 federal spending agreement that supports voluntary, locally-led conservation efforts across the country by providing strong funding for critical conservation programs and initiatives. 

The spending package includes:

-- No cuts to mandatory spending for USDA farm bill conservation programs, such as EQIP, CSP, RCPP, and CRP;

-- $941 million for NRCS Conservation Operations, including more than $800 million for Conservation Technical Assistance – a $40 million increase compared to FY 2022 funding. This funding supports the work of conservation districts and other local partners to help producers assess resource needs, develop conservation plans, and implement effective conservation practices;

-- More than $337 million for the U.S. Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry Program – a more than $20 million increase compared to FY 2022 funding;

-- $12.5 million for the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Stewardship Program – a $500,000 increase compared to FY 2022 funding;

-- $182 million for EPA’s Nonpoint Source Management Program – a $4 million increase compared to FY 2022 funding;

-- $925 million for NRCS’ Emergency Watershed Protection Program, $75 million for Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Operations Programs, and $2 million for the Watershed Rehabilitation Program.

The agreement also includes a revised version of the bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act. The bill will help farmers, ranchers, and private forestland owners access voluntary environmental credit markets by authorizing USDA to establish a registry list for farm technical advisers and verification services. 

The agreement also includes the SUSTAINS Act, which will facilitate USDA accepting private funds to support the agency’s efforts to address climate change, sequester carbon, improve wildlife habitat, and enhance water quality.

Notably, the bill also includes $3.7 billion for USDA's Emergency Relief Program to assist producers who suffered losses due to natural disasters this year.

“NACD applauds Congress for passing a strong federal spending bill that supports our producers and critical, locally-led conservation efforts across the country,” said NACD President Michael Crowder. “It is now more important than ever that we provide producers and local conservation partners with the resources and tools they need to feed the world and be great stewards of our country’s working lands.”  

The spending bill will now be sent to President Biden's desk to be signed into law. This legislation is a clear commitment to producers and will support and empower local partners to help them enhance their operations and protect the nation's natural resources.

Visit the National Association of Conservation Districts website for more information.

Related Articles:

-- Appalachian Voices: Final FY2023 Federal Budget Includes STREAM Act, Abandoned Mine Land Economic Program Increase, Not Black Lung Benefits  [PaEN]

-- The Allegheny Front: Abandoned Mine Pollution Long-Term Cleanup Will Get Money From Federal Spending Bill

-- Scranton Times: STREAM Act Legislation Passes Congress

-- PA Trout: Federal STREAM Mine Reclamation Act Advocacy At National Wild Trout Symposium Highlights Trip West  [PaEN]

-- Wilkes-Barre Times: Cong. Cartwright: Omnibus Federal Budget Package Includes $53 Million For NE PA, Including Wyoming Valley Stormwater Funding

-- Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Federal FY2023 Budget Increases Funding For Chesapeake Bay Program, Watershed Investments For Landscape Defense, NRCS Technical Assistance

-- Erie Times - Brian Whipkey: PA Continues Fight For Federal Wildlife Funding, Despite Setback

[Posted: December 23, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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