National Park Service FY ’10 Budget Passed by the House

The National Park Service (NPS) would receive $2.7 billion under the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies fiscal year (FY) 2010 bill (H.R. 2996) (H. Rept. 111-180) that was passed (254-173) by the House of Representatives on June 26. This represents a $198 million increase over the FY 2009 level.

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. 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.

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 $9 million for Civil War battlefield preservation grants.

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.The bill will provide at least $150,000 to the new areas without approved plans. The committee report language directs the NPS to develop new guidelines for this program that include self-sufficiency plans for all heritage areas within a reasonable period of time.

Japanese American Confinement Sites—the bill includes funding across several Park Service accounts for the preservation of sites associated with the confinement of Japanese Americans during World War II. The Committee has included $2,500,000 for the Japanese American Site Grants program, and lesser sums for specific sites and for acquisition of additional sites in the future.

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 Committee directed the NPS Director to report back to the Committee on how future budgets will address the recommendations in the NAPA report.

Sesquicentennial Civil War Planning—In anticipation of the upcoming Sesquicentennial of the Civil War the Committee encouraged the National Park Service, in collaboration with the Civil War Preservation Trust and other organizations, to update the content of its website and the information available at its Civil War Parks and to employ modern technology and adaptive and interactive media to present this information to the public.

Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee marked up its version of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies fiscal year (FY) 2010 bill on June 25. Here is a summary of the programmatic budgets from the bill. Only a draft copy of the committee report language is available at this time so this is not the final version of the numbers and language adopted at the markup.

  • Historic Preservation Fund–$74.5 million
  • Save America’s Treasures–$20 million
  • State Historic Preservation Offices–$46.5 million
  • Tribal Grants–$8 Million
  • Heritage Partnership programs–$17.7 million
  • Preserve America–$3.2 million
  • Cultural Programs–$26 million (The bill includes $3 million for the Japanese American Confinement Site grant program).
  • Park Partnership Project Grants–$0
  • Civil War Battlefield Protection Grants–$4 Million

$1 million is allocated towards the establishment of a pilot program for the teaching of American history and civics in the National Parks. The Committee directed the NPS to work cooperatively with the Department of Education in developing curriculum and facilitate the process of bringing nationally renowned scholars to historically significant Park units to instruct students and teachers at the sites were important historical events occurred. The House report language does not contain similar language.