Dear forest pest mavens,
a document circulating here indicates that the Trump Administration proposes to cut funds for the current FY17) year.
The Administration proposes to cut $50 million from appropriations to APHIS for a combination of 3 programs: "tree & wood pests", "specialty crops", and wildlife services. Since the Fiscal Year is half over, these cuts would be deeper even than this indicates.
This proposed cut is most alarming. "Tree & wood pests" is currently funded at ~$54 million; APHIS spends all of that on just 3 tree pests - Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer, & gypsy moth. The "specialty crops" program is funded at $156 million; $3-4 million of that goes to sudden oak death. So, already, APHIS has funding to deal with only 4 of the dozens of non-native insects & pathogens killing urban, rural, and wildland trees.
OMB has sought for more than a decade to shift response costs to the states - despite the legal responsibility for preventing pest introductions lying with the federal government (APHIS). In practice, relying on the states will mean piecemeal programs - some states will fund aggressive programs, most will not. This will undermine efficacy since these pests threaten trees across wide swaths of the country, not just individual states.
It is somewhat unclear, but APHIS might be negotiating with the states now about which ones will accept how much of the responsibility for which pests. ... clearly any negotiations are shadowed by the abrupt cut-off sword hanging over the process.
The proposals do not appear to cut funding for USFS State & Private Forestry/Forest Health Protection or Research; it would cut funds for forest landscape restoration projects and the urban forestry program.
Contact your members of Congress and senators and urge them to oppose this proposal when the bill to fund government activities for the 2nd half of the fiscal year comes to a vote. (The current continuing resolution expires at the end of April, so the bills should be before Congress soon.)