Omnibus Budget Provides Strong Funding for Urban Forests

By Dr. Gerry Gray, ACTrees Public Policy Manager

Washington, DC (January 30, 2014) – Earlier this month, Congress passed and President Obama signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the federal government through September 2014. The new Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY 2014 (H.R. 3547) includes strong funding for the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban & Community Forestry Program as well as direction for the agency to maintain a vibrant urban forestry research program.

Urban & Community Forestry Program
The U&CF Program received $31.3 million in FY 2012. In FY 2013, U&CF funding was reduced to $29.9 million due to the Congressional budget sequestration. In FY 2014, another consideration came into play as Congress agreed to include a new line item proposed by the Forest Service — a Landscape Scale Restoration Program. The creation of this new line item effectively reduced funding for U&CF, as well as several other programs, by a small amount, which explains why U&CF funding is reduced to $28 million. However, the positive side of this action is that urban forestry projects are eligible for funding through the new Landscape Scale Restoration Program, which Congress funded at $14 million for FY 2014.

Urban Forestry Research
In another key action for urban forest advocates, Congress included a statement recognizing the importance of urban forestry research in its report language, which accompanies the actual legislation. That language appears in the report’s Forest Service Research section as follows:

Urban Forest Research. –The Forest Service is encouraged to maintain a vibrant urban forest research program to assist urban communities in inventorying and assessing the changing conditions and health of urban forests and develop strategic plans to sustain these natural resources. (p. 39 of report language accompanying H.R. 3547)

Thanks To Our Members and Partners
Thanks to the efforts of ACTrees members and our many partners who have continued to advocate for funding to support urban forests through the Forest Service’s U&CF Program and Forest Service Research, both have fared well for FY 2014! See more about ACTrees and ACTrees members’ advocacy efforts in 2013.

Related Resources:
Text of the Consolidated Appropriations Act—H.R. 3547 (Within the consolidated legislation, look for Division G: Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014. Then look for Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.)
House report language accompanying H.R. 3547 (For Forest Service language, see page 39 following. For Forest Service budget tables, see page 89 following.)
ACTrees Advocacy Agenda