Funding Conservation Programs

U.S. Capitol

The annual budget process sets many of the federal government's priorities and regularly presents both threats and opportunities for conservation. Through this important process the federal government decides how much money it is willing to spend on all discretionary spending programs, including funding the programs that further conservation, restoration, habitat acquisition, wildlife programs, clean air and clean water.

The process starts each year with the President submitting his budget proposal to Congress. From there Congress and the executive branch work to produce a budget for the federal government and subsequently appropriate the monies budgeted to the departments and agencies for their programs and initiatives.

Of particular concern to conservationists are the budgets that federal land management agencies receive from Congress through an annual Interior Appropriations bill. Audubon's ongoing challenge is to ensure that agencies receive adequate funding to manage the lands they administer, that funding is prioritized for natural resource protection, as opposed to harmful resource extraction, and that unrelated, and often undesirable, "riders" are not added to this legislation.

Audubon's Policy Office has full-time staff who closely tracks and advocates for these important funding issues. Our job is to make sure that dozens of conservation programs get the highest funding levels possible.