Why the federal budget matters for trout and salmon

If you’re looking for ways to lose your friends’ attention, try mentioning the federal budget.  

But the legislation that funds our nation’s sprawling government apparatus is vitally important for the lands and waterways that support the country’s water quality, fisheries, public lands, and much more.  

On Tuesday, the President signed this year’s massive $1.5 trillion funding bill into law, representing the highest funding for federal land management programs in years. Here are four reasons why Trout Unlimited is excited about the passage of the federal government funding omnibus bill.  

Provides Federal Dollars for Abandoned Mine Cleanup

The legislation holds a special emphasis on cleaning up the hundreds of thousands of abandoned mines across that American landscape the degrade habitat and community drinking water resources. The package touts the establishment of a national initiative to reclaim these sites and increases program funding for regional cleanup efforts.  

Acid mine drainage from abandoned mines is contaminating our clean water in the San Juan Mountains. Under current laws, well-intended groups are reluctant to provide mine cleanup for fear of permanent liability and cost-prohibitive regulations.

Funds Key Regional Conservation Programs

The package increases funding for geographic programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, and the Chesapeake Bay Program. Federally directed programs like these provide important dollars that Trout Unlimited leverages alongside other sources to improve our coldwater resources and native fisheries.  

Takes a Positive Step on Climate

The funding omnibus represents a first step in President Biden’s pledge to take meaningful action to mitigate the impacts of climate change on our nation’s communities and fish and wildlife habitat. The legislation provides billions in clean technology research, renewable energy development, and environmental enforcement. Although these moderate funding increases are a positive development in the fight against the climate crisis, far more must be done to reduce national carbon emissions and curb warming temperatures that threaten trout and salmon populations across the country.  

Corrects Agency Underfunding

The legislation provides important funding increases to critical natural resource and federal land management agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. Increasing agency budgets is essential to expanding the staffing programmatic capacity that fulfills the government’s vital role to ensure clean water and healthy public lands.   

Now that the FY22 Appropriations process is complete, lawmakers on Capitol Hill will begin to focus on next year’s funding cycle. Trout Unlimited will continue to work to promote strong federal appropriations to ensure resource agencies have the staff and funding to manage our public lands, protect our coldwater fisheries, and ensure our nation’s waterways are resilient to the impending impacts of a warming climate.

The Chesapeake Bay benefits enormously from federal funding through the Chesapeake Bay Program.

For more information on the specific programs and projects that Trout Unlimited is working on with support of federal partners or programs, please contact or