Over the last couple weeks the consequences of sequestration and government cuts in spending are becoming apparent and they affect everyone. Benefits to people in need are being cut, airplane flights are being delayed or cancelled and national parks are opening late. We all know that the federal government is spending more than it receives. The nation will need to come to grips with what’s important to keep and what to cut. In recent months the Association of State Wetland Managers and others engaged in protecting, conserving and restoring wetlands have become concerned that wetland maps might be considered expendable.
Currently the National Wetland Inventory Program is funded at around $5 million per year. This includes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services contribution to completing and update NWI maps (about 1% of the country per year), the national Status and Trends reporting on wetland acreage losses, and mapping for implementing the Coastal Barrier Resources Act. The President’s 2014 budget supports continuing and even increasing the funding around $.5 million.
However, prior to the issuance of the President’s budget, there were efforts to nearly zero out the program within the administration. Our take away message is that the wetland community as well as many others who depend on wetland maps have not done a good enough job documenting and communicating that wetland maps merit more, not less funding, and that it requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ participation to ensure that maps are completed, meet the federal wetland mapping standard and get added to the National Wetland Inventory.
The National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) and associated on-line wetland mapping tools provide decision support for managing the nation’s wetland resources. NWI also helps states and communities manage flood hazards, address water quality problems, direct development away from sensitive areas, and prioritize wetland restoration projects. It is used to support conservation of fish and wildlife of national significance such as migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, and fisheries, and to manage local, state, and federal lands such as the national refuges and the national forests.
If you use wetland maps in carrying out your work, please help us by answering the questions below and sending your response to me, Jeanne Christie at email@example.com . We will collect and share your stories. In addition to supporting future NWI funding, describing the various uses of wetland maps will help practitioners around the country continue to improve program delivery since good wetland maps can lead to substantial time and cost savings in program management.
1. Project Name
2. Project Description
3. Who is Using the Data
4. What it is Used to Do
5. Consequences of not having wetland maps (NWI) as well as not having up to date wetland maps if applicable.
6. Cost and time savings if applicable
7. For more information (contact/website)
Individuals interested in discovering more about the National Wetlands Inventory and related GIS tools can visit wetland one-stop mapping at: http://www.aswm.org/wetland-science/wetlands-one-stop-mapping. Once again, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you very much!