Campaign Promises

Cabinet/Departments -> Interior -> Fish and Wildlife Service

Fish and Wildlife ServiceGrade
The Promise: "Will provide state game and fish agencies with additional resources and encouragement to reach out to young men and women to educate them about hunting and fishing opportunities, hunter safety, and the basic principles of fish and wildlife management."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Supporting the Rights and Traditions of Sportsmen" dated 08/06/08.
Status:The Department of the Interior's (DOI) FY2010 budget proposal included $30M for the creation of a program entitled "Educating Young Hunters and Anglers." This proposed program was scrapped by Congress.

While the DOI does manage other youth-oriented programs such as the "Youth in the Great Outdoors" program and the "Youth Conservation Corps," none is specifically earmarked for youth hunting and fishing education or fish and wildlife management.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "...devote billions of dollars annually to state game and fish agencies and federal land management agencies to help them ensure that fish and wildlife survive the impacts of climate change."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Supporting the Rights and Traditions of Sportsmen" dated 08/06/08.
Status:"Adaptation" is defined in the Department of Interior's (DOI's) 09/10 "Climate Change Strategic Plan" as "...planned, science-based management actions that we take to help reduce the impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, and their habitats." In other words, DOI's efforts were intended to help fish and wildlife "adapt" to climate change.

Fulfillment of this promise was largely dependent upon passage of the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454) in CY2009. This Act (also known as the Waxman-Markey Bill or Cap-and-Trade Bill), was approved by the House but failed to pass the Senate. Other sources of funding had to be found.

The National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) was established by Congress in 2008 to provide scientific information to assist managers of the Nation's fish, wildlife, and their habitats in responding to climate change. Climate Science Centers were originally planned as "hubs" of NCCWSC, but their mission was expanded by President Obama's Secretary of the Interior Salazar; these hubs are now DOI Climate Science Centers (CSCs), managed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) under the aegis of the NCCWSC.

The NCCWSC budget during President Obama's two terms in office, including funding for the CSCs, was as follows:
FY2017....$171.4M (Requested)

Absent Cap-and-Trade legislation as a funding mechanism, the NCCWSC (including CSCs) was cumulatively funded at the $1.1B level during President Obama's two terms in office. Because he promised "billions" specifically geared to help fish and wildlife adapt to climate change, only initial progress was made toward fulfilling this promise.
The Promise: "...full funding for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and fulfilling the goal of "no net loss"..."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Supporting the Rights and Traditions of Sportsmen" dated 08/06/08.
Status:The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) of 1989 encourages "partnerships among public agencies and other interests to protect, enhance, restore, and manage wetland ecosystems and other habitats for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife..." Under the "No Net Loss Wetlands Policy," wetland loss is to be balanced with wetlands reclamation, mitigation, and restoration so that the total wetlands acreage in the USA does not decrease.

The latest available "Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Conterminous United States" provides data up to CY2009 only and shows that the goal of "no net loss," at that time, was not being achieved. Absent any current information as of end-CY2016, the focus is on the funding aspects of this promise.

In 2006, Congress reauthorized the NAWCA to extend its appropriation authorization of up to $75 million per year to 2012. This was the amount to be reached in the first few years of President Obama's first term to ensure the promised "full funding" was met.

Under President Obama, the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund received the following funding:

FY2017....$35.1M (Requested)

Additional program funding comes from fines, penalties, and forfeitures collected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918; from federal fuel excise taxes on small gasoline engines; and from interest accrued on the fund established under the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937.

Efforts to reauthorize the NAWCA have been unsuccessful. Notably, the North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act of 2014 (S. 741), introduced on 04/16/13 by Senator David Vitter (R-LA), would have reauthorized the NAWCA in the amount of $55M per year during the period FY2014 through FY2019, down from the previously authorized $75M per year through FY2012. This bill expired at the end of the 113th Congress in 12/14.

The Sportsmen's Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Enhancement Act (H.R. 3173) was introduced by Congressman Timothy Walz (D-MN) on 07/23/15. A provision of this bill would have reauthorized the NAWCA for the period FY2016 to FY2020 in the amount not to exceed $50M per year. This bill expired with the 114th Congress at the end of CY2016.

As late as 11/03/15, President Obama acknowledged in a memorandum entitled "Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment" that "no net loss" goals had not yet been met. In this memorandum, he directed that "Agencies' mitigation policies should establish a net benefit goal or, at a minimum, a no net loss goal for natural resources the agency manages that are important, scarce, or sensitive, or wherever doing so is consistent with agency mission and established natural resource objectives."

This promise was not fulfilled.