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February 6, 2007

Contact: Melissa Waage, (202) 736-5760,

Endangered Species Left Behind in Bush Administration’s 2008 Budget

Washington—President Bush’s budget, released yesterday, is too little, too late for federal endangered species programs that have been critically underfunded for years. Especially troubling are cuts to the endangered species recovery account and continued starvation of the endangered species listing account.

“The Endangered Species Act has been tremendously successful at protecting species from extinction and setting them on the path to recovery once they are added to the endangered list,” said Melissa Waage with the Center for Biological Diversity. “However, the Bush administration’s consistent underfunding of key Fish and Wildlife Service endangered species programs is a roadblock to further progress on endangered species’ recovery.”

Though the Endangered Species Act’s fundamental purpose is to protect and recover species on the brink of extinction, the president’s budget once again cuts funding for Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species recovery program. The president’s request of $68.1 million for recovery is a cut of $5.5 million below the level approved by Congress for FY2006. It is also $16.7 million less than the recovery budget requested by the conservation community.

In keeping with an alarming trend of denying and delaying Endangered Species Act protections to critically imperiled plants and wildlife, the president’s budget requests inadequate funding for the endangered species listing program. Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing account, which supports the protection of new plants and animals under the Endangered Species Act and designation of their critical habitat, faces a backlog of 279 candidates in danger of extinction as they await protection. Addressing this backlog will require increasing funding well above current levels. In the FY2008 Green Budget, the conservation community has requested $25.2 million for the listing line item in FY2008, and the listing budget must ultimately be increased to $31.5 million/year to effectively address both the regular annual listing workload and the listing backlog. The president’s request of $18.2 million for listing falls short of both these funding goals.

The president’s budget requests a modest increase of $3.5 million to the endangered species consultation line item over Congress’s FY06 enacted level. This account funds the development of Habitat Conservation Plans as well as consultation between federal agencies when a federal project may harm an endangered species. However, the request still falls far short of the $63.2 million that the program should receive to cope with the near-doubling of projects reviewed by this program in past years.

Candidate Conservation
The candidate conservation program is designed to protect species before they have declined enough to require listing. The president’s budget funds the candidate conservation account at $8.6 million, a mere $16 thousand over the FY06 enacted level. However, the candidate conservation account should be funded at $12 million to effectively conserve candidates.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Act Funding
Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Request (millions)


President's request

Green Budget request

Difference from Green Budget request

Fiscal Year
2006 enacted

Difference from 2006 enacted

Candidate Conservation

$ 8.6

$ 12.0

- $ 3.4

$ 8.6

$ 0.02 ( $16,000)


$ 18.3

$ 25.2

- $ 6.9

$ 17.6

$ 0.6 ($633,000)


$ 51.6

$ 63.2

- $ 11.6

$ 48.0

$ 3.5


$ 68.1

$ 84.8

- $ 16.7

$ 73.6

- $ 5.5


$ 146.5

$ 185.2

- $ 38.7

$ 147.8

- $ 1.3

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