April 19, 2024

politics of law

Politics and Law

Audubon’s 2023 Bird Budget: Federal Funding Priorities to Bring Birds Back

3 min read

Birds are telling us that we must do more to invest in their future. Federal funding is key to bringing birds back from a decline of 3 billion birds since 1970, by investing in climate solutions, conserving natural resources, building resilient communities, and protecting birds. As Congress considers the FY23 budget proposal from President Biden, Audubon urges increased investment for federal agencies and programs that will reduce carbon emissions, conserve our lands and waters, and restore bird populations. 

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law in 2021, made historic five-year investments in many conservation areas. Congress must build upon this success by ensuring that annual appropriations for conservation programs continue to increase, in order to rebuild staff and operations from four years of budget cuts. The IIJA funding should be considered a down payment to begin rebuilding our bird populations; but annual investments through the appropriations process are still critical.  

As the climate crisis continues to impact communities throughout the nation, Congress must seize this opportunity to address the multiple, ongoing challenges we are facing – extended drought and wildfire in the west, billion-dollar storm events ravaging coastal communities, the toxic spread of invasive species, and negative impacts to human health related to systemic underinvestment. Federal dollars should put disadvantaged communities first; ensuring federal funding helps those who need it most and repairing historic underinvestment. 

Audubon supports the following investments in the FY23 appropriations bills: 


  • $725 million for Everglades restoration efforts and $15 million for Everglades operations and maintenance within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers  
  • $55 million for the Upper Mississippi River Restoration program within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
  • $20 million for WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management Program within the Bureau of Reclamation 
  • $15 million for aquatic ecosystem restoration program within the Bureau of Reclamation 
  • $535 million for the EERE Solar Program within the Department of Energy 
  • $345 million for the EERE Wind Program within the Department of Energy 
  • $100 million for Office of Electricity: Energy Storage within the Department of Energy 
  • $750 million for ARPA-E within the Department of Energy 
  • Full funding and staffing of Renewable Energy Coordination Offices (RECOs), which are essential to realizing our renewable energy and conservation goals. 
  • $74 million for Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation 
  • We strongly urge Congress to exclude the Greater Sage-Grouse rider, which prohibits the DOI from using any funds to make decisions regarding the listing of the greater sage-grouse as threatened or endangered. 
  • $7.9 million for NMBCA 
  • $712 million for the National Wildlife Refuge System Refuge Operations and Maintenance 
  • $60 million for NAWCA 
  • $90 million for State and Tribal Wildlife Grants 
  • $74.3 million for Migratory Bird Management 
  • $19.9 million for Migratory Bird Joint Ventures 
  • $5 million for the Saline Lakes Integrated Water Availability Assessment at USGS 
  • $15 million for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program 
  • $15.4 million for USFS International Programs 
  • $74.5 million for USGS Species Management Research


Environmental Protection Agency 

  • Full funding for the EPA Geographic Programs, including: 
  • $400 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) 
  • $1 million for the Chesapeake Bay program 
  • $50 million for the Puget Sound program 
  • $50 million for the National Estuary Program 
  • $10 billion for the Clean Water SRF 
  • $10 billion for the Drinking Water SRF 

Commerce, Justice, and Science 

  • $50.45 million for CZM and Services 
  • Including $10 million for Regional Ocean Partnerships 
  • $132 million for Coastal Management Grants 
  • $60 million for the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund 
  • $140 million for the National Sea Grant College Program  
  • $42 million for the NERR System  
  • The NERR program should be funded at $32 million for NERR system operations and $10 million for NERR System procurement, acquisition, and construction. 
  • $84.5 million for Sanctuaries and Marine Protected Areas 
  • $78.2 million for NASA Applied Sciences  

State and Foreign Operations 

  • $150.2 million for the GEF and $41.5 million for the InterAmerican Foundation 
  • $1.5 million for Migratory Birds 
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