River Budget Sets Forward Federal River Priorities

February 6, 2024

Jaime Sigaran, 240-593-3433 
Amy Souers Kober, 503-708-1145 

Washington, DC – American Rivers today released its annual community-driven budget and appropriations report, the River Budget: National Priorities for Healthy Rivers and Clean Water of Fiscal Year 2025, outlining key programs and opportunities for federal spending. The report is endorsed by 156 partners including utility and state agency associations, fishing groups, small businesses, rural communities, public health organizations, environmental justice leaders, and more.  

As lawmakers reach a bipartisan agreement for FY24 funding, we continue to urge Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) to complete their work of ensuring our government remains open and responsive to the American people. With the second session of the 118th Congress underway, Congress must promptly finish passing a full year appropriation for FY24 then focus its attention on passing a spending bill ahead of the September 30, 2024, funding deadline for the start of fiscal year 2025. Last week, the White House Office of Management and Budget announced the Presidents FY25 budget proposal will be released on March 11, just three days after the current funding deadline is set to expire. The President is also scheduled to give the State of the Union address on March 7. 

“While we continue to urge Congress to pass a final funding package for FY24, we must now look forward to the FY25 appropriations process to push for meaningful wins for healthy rivers as part of the spending bill packages this session. Investing in rivers is money well spent. Healthy rivers create jobs, improve access to clean water and recreation, and protect people from climate impacts including floods and drought. Congressional leadership is greatly needed to champion innovative and equitable investments for healthy rivers and clean water,” said Tom Kiernan, President and CEO of American Rivers. 

Each year, the House and Senate start work on a budget resolution which, if adopted, kicks off a series of separate bills funding various federal agencies, programs, and activities. It is Congress’s job, as part of its primary constitutional responsibilities, to fund the operations of the federal government. Communities rely on these programs for healthy rivers and clean water. 

The River Budget includes priorities in five key categories: 

Promote climate-smart agriculture 

  • $950 million – Agricultural Conservation Easement Program  
  • $2 billion – Conservation Stewardship Program  
  • $5 billion – Environmental Quality Incentives Program  
  • $1.8 billion – Regional Conservation Partnership Program  
  • $750 million – Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program – Subsidies and Grants 

Protect watersheds 

  • $7.5 million – Wild and Scenic Rivers Program  
  • $100 million – Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program  
  • $15 million – Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance 
  • $93 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program  
  • $450 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative  
  • $57 million for the Puget Sound Program  
  • $15.5 million for the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund 
  • $150 million for WaterSMART Grants 

Improve flood management 

  • $2 billion – Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Program  
  • $40 million – Engineering with Nature  
  • $20 million – Flood Plain Management Services 
  • $15 million – National Flood Risk Management Program 
  • $700 million – Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Program  
  • $221 million – Flood Plain Management and Flood Mapping  
  • $200 million – Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program 

Enhance water infrastructure  

  • $7.6 billion each for the Clean Water SRF and Drinking Water SRF  
  • $225 million for the Low Income Household Water Assistance Pilot Program  
  • $280 million for the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grants Program  

Remove and rehabilitate dams 

  • $100 million – Community-based Restoration Program   
  • $20 million – High Hazard Potential Dam Safety Grant Program   
  • $92 million – National Dam Safety Program   
  • $30 million – National Fish Passage Program   

The River Budget is a tool to voice the interests and needs of river communities and allies by recommending to Administration and Congress funding priorities and levels for programs that create clean rivers and water nationwide.   

About American Rivers 

American Rivers is championing a national effort to protect and restore all rivers, from remote mountain streams to urban waterways. Healthy rivers provide people and nature with clean, abundant water and natural habitat. For 50 years, American Rivers staff, supporters, and partners have shared a common belief: Life Depends on Rivers℠. Learn more at www.americanrivers.org