Don’t know if it’s a slow news period, the beginning of silly season (pre-election behavior) or both. Note: this post is not intended to open the floodgates of politician-bashing. It is intended to direct our attentions (and possibly, indirectly to the Administration and the Congress) to the question of “given our current economic climate, how can we best reduce costs and avoid duplication in federal land management and associated work?”
The President himself says that the government should not pay ($125 per year) for the Fiddlin’ Foresters website. All the details are found in this post at at Wildfire Today, including a link to the handy Waybackmachine site which apparently shows web content from the past.
Now the mission of the Fiddlin’ Foresters seem fairly important:
Through lively and entertaining musical performance, we provide conservation education, enhance employee morale and communicate the value of public service and federal land management in a new century of service.
The FFs attempt to improve morale (I can vouch personally for that) and call us to the importance of public lands through the arts. I personally think the FS would be a better place with more attention to morale and internal cohesion. I think the employee survey says something along the same lines.
But if you were to find the biggest budget buster and remove it, what would it be?
I have three candidates:
1. Recombine the federal land management agencies to reduce duplication. Or at least
2. Require BLM, NPS, FS and FWS to plan together where their jurisdictions are adjacent.
3. Stop handing out research funds to do the same thing to six or seven different agencies. For example, NSF, NOAA, the Forest Service, and USGS all appear to fund studies around what land managers need to know. Some funding goes to grants that scientists must apply for, and spend time developing. You have FS scientists writing grant proposals to get USGS funding and vice versa. There is no mechanism to avoid duplication, and the mechanisms to ensure that the products are useful are not all that clear. I wrote about them in the “Conveyor Belt” post here.
What are your thoughts?