Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units look to the Senate for help

Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units look to the Senate for help

The Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Program did not get the boost in funding it needed from the U.S. House of Representatives' Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, reports the Wildlife Management Institute. The House Subcommittee approved $14.938 million for fiscal year 2007, the amount requested by the Administration but $2.6 million less than needed to restore the number of scientists in the program to the 2001 level.

Across the country, there are 18 Coop Units with one or more vacant scientist positions. Without an increase in this year's budget request, the Unit program must absorb four more scientist vacancies by the end of fiscal year 2007, in order to stay within available funding.

This places all of the Coop Units in jeopardy for two reasons. First, any vacancy created by a Unit scientist retiring or electing to take another position is very unlikely to be filled. Second, without additional funding in fiscal year 2007, major changes in the Unit program?either closing of Units or restructuring of Units?will be necessary to meet payroll in fiscal year 2008.

The National Cooperators' Coalition, an alliance of more than 60 university and state fish and wildlife agency Unit cooperators, and 22 hunting and fishing conservation organizations are urging the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee to approve $17.5 million in fiscal year 2007 to make it possible to begin refilling vacant scientist positions at 18 Units across the country.

May 13, 2006