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FWS wants partners and to buy more land

The National Wildlife Refuge System would get a slight funding increase under the Obama Administration's FY 15 budget. The administration proposes $476.4 million, an increase of just $4.2 million. But the Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) is planning to work with partners to help conserve fish and wildlife in their natural habits, testified FWS Director Dan Ashe.

Ashe was explaining the administration's proposed budget before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment & Related Agencies. “By working with partners, we can leverage available resources to benefit wildlife and keep working families on the land they’ve stewarded for generations,” Ashe told the subcommittee. FWS is already working with such partners in the newest addition to the system, he said.

The budget includes $168.8 million for land acquisition. This includes $55 million in funds already allocated and a proposed new $113.8 million. FWS wants to earmark money specifically to buy desert land in California and tallgrass prairie in the Dakotas, plus Florida/Georgia Longleaf pine and to add to the Rappahanock, Silvio Conte and Bear River National Wildlife Refuges.