According to a press release from the National Wildlife Refuge Association:
Last night, the Senate joined with the House and passed an omnibus-spending package for FY08, rolling eleven spending bills into one, including Interior. The package includes a critically-needed increase for the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) with proposed funding at $434 million, $39 million more than last year. “This increase is a shot of adrenaline for an ailing Refuge System,” said Evan Hirsche, President of the National Wildlife Refuge Association. “Chairman Dicks and members of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee gave the Refuge System a holiday gift that will keep on giving.”
…Over the past four years, refuges have had flat or declining budgets, forcing each Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Region to implement strategic downsizing plans calling for a 20% reduction of the workforce nationwide, equating to 565 jobs. The Refuge System needs at least $15 million annually to keep up with the rising costs of inflation and, without it, refuges have been forced to close, while visitor programs such as environmental education have been sharply reduced.
There are things in the budget that none of us like, but at least there is one thing to cheer about.