(May 4, 2006) The USDA-Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program (U&CF) received $29.513 in the FY 2007 House appropriations bill that funds the Forest Service.
This is positive progress considering that the budget for the program has been shrinking each year since FY 2003. The House budgeted $2.7 million more for the program than the Administration budgeted.
The House budget would provide an increase of $1.467 million to the base program providing technical and financial assistance to all states and territories. It also includes $700,000 for the Pennsylvania Northeast Area Initiative and $500,000 for Tacoma, Washington.
The budget reduced funding for a number of grant programs and land acquisition projects in favor of providing support to “core, mission-essential” programs. A House Committee on Appropriations press release provides broad information about the bill.
For U&CF advocates, our work is not done. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies will draft its own budget. U&CF advocates should call or fax their Senators as soon as possible to convey support for the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition budget request. (Surface mail is too slow and email is less valued.)
Send your Senator a cover letter on your organization’s letterhead, along with the coalition document. A sample cover letter is provided for your convenience.