Murkowski Studies Salmon Shortfall, Tsunami Debris in Spending Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the release of the 2013 Interior Appropriations bill today, Senator Lisa Murkowski – Ranking Republican on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee – demonstrated that her work on the committee has meant results and resources to investigate the recent declines in King Salmon runs in Alaska, along with direction to the Interior Department on how to proceed with the nation’s tsunami debris response.
The White House reduced funding levels for Fish and Wildlife subsistence programs. In the appropriations bill released today, funding levels were restored at $2.89 million – saving 11 staff positions, and avoiding a 25 percent drop in fish population and harvest assessments. Senator Murkowski included direction to the agency that:
“[T]hese funds should be used for high priority work including improvement of stock assessments, estimates of Chinook escapement and run size; better understanding of salmon stock dynamics; and the assessment of biological and environmental factors influencing productivity of Chinook salmon.”
Senator Murkowski was also able to include a provision directing the Interior Department to work with relevant federal agencies to develop a “Tsunami Task Force” to develop a plan for addressing tsunami debris washing up on the coasts of Alaska and Pacific states – a point Murkowski made herself in a Senate floor speech on August 1, 2012.
While Friday night’s continuing resolution funds the government through March 2013 at present levels, the priorities established in this funding bill set the funding and policy direction for the remainder of the fiscal year.