National Park Service FY 2010 Budget Update

The National Park Service would receive $2.7 billion under the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies fiscal year (FY) 2010 bill that was approved by the House Appropriations Committee on June 18. This represents a $198 million increase over the FY 2009 level.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet considered its version of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies fiscal year (FY) 2010 bill, although it is tentatively scheduled to do so next week.

The bill provides $25 million for new Park Partnership Project Grants, as requested by the Administration. It is a matching grant program that allows the Park Service to fund merit-based signature projects and programs throughout the park system. It allows the NPS to leverage, from non-federal sources, no less than 50 percent of the total cost of each project. The program was developed to help celebrate the Park Service’s centennial in 2016. Congress did not provide any funding for the program in FY 2009.

The bill also includes an additional $5 million for Civil War battlefield acquisitions.

Please note below that for comparison purposes, the FY ’09 appropriation will be included in parentheses after the FY 2010 budget request.

Heritage Partnership programs–$17.8 million ($15.7 million) +$2.1 million: These funds finance grants to local non-profit groups in support of historical and cultural recognition, preservation and tourism activities. The increase is to allow funding for the expanded number of heritage partnership areas authorized by Congress. In the last two years, the number of authorized partnerships has increased from 27 to 49, including 9 new areas authorized in March 2009.

Historic Preservation Fund–$90.6 million ($69.5 million) +$21.1 million. The Fund includes:

Preserve America program—$6.1 million (zero funding) +$6.1 million: This program provides small grants to local communities in support of heritage tourism, education and historic preservation planning activities. This program received no funding in FY 2009.

Save America’s Treasures program–$30 million ($20 million) +10 million: These funds are used to make small one-time grants for specific local historic preservation projects to preserve a building or artifact which might otherwise be lost. All projects require a 50 percent match from private sources. The bill earmarks $5.16 million of the funds for 36 projects.

State Historic Preservation Offices–$46.5 ($42.5 million) +$4 million
Tribal Grants–$8 million ($7 million) +$1 million

Under the Administration’s Economic Recovery Act enacted earlier this year, the Historic Preservation Fund received an additional $15 million in “emergency appropriations for FY 2009.

Cultural Programs–$23 million ($22.6 million) +$371K

Cultural Resources Stewardship—In October 2008, the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) issued a report entitled “Saving Our History: A Review of the National Park Cultural Resource Programs.” The report made several recommendations to improve the Park Service’s stewardship of cultural resources including: new performance measures, park superintendent accountability, museum management, and funding and staffing. The NPS Director was directed to report back to the Committee on how future budgets will address the recommendations in the NAPA report.