Funding America’s Conservation Future

Aug 23, 2018

A data-driven look at the Land and Water Conservation Fund’s recent accomplishments and what’s at stake in 2018

A new report by the Center for Western Priorities, Funding America’s Conservation Future, offers a data-driven analysis of the Land and Water Conservation Fund’s (LWCF) accomplishments and examines what is at stake if Congress fails to renew the critical land conservation program. The report, which identified and examined upwards of 800 LWCF projects proposed from 2014 through 2017, provides a unique look at the scope and scale of LWCF successes for communities and states across the nation.

According to this analysis, 293 U.S. public land and Forest Legacy LWCF projects in 42 states were successfully completed between 2014 and 2017, conserving at least 431,000 acres and protecting America’s parks and public lands from the threat of development. An additional 92 LWCF projects proposed during this period, encompassing 221,000 acres, are in the process of being completed.

LWCF is the primary source of funding to enhance access to public lands across the country, but the popular program will expire if Congress does not reauthorize it by the end of September 2018. Established in 1964, the program takes funds from offshore drilling and uses them to invest in outdoor recreation and public land protections. LWCF monies are used to create local parks, ballfields, and swimming pools, to enhanced access for hunting and fishing, and to protect national parks and wildlife refuges from the risks of residential development.

If Congress fails to reauthorize and fully fund LWCF, a minimum of 223 LWCF projects that would protect 318,000 acres are on the line.

Along with the printed report, the Center for Western Priorities is releasing an interactive map showing all the LWCF projects proposed and completed from 2014-2017. This map is available to news outlets and partner organizations for linking or embedding. Contact Media Director Aaron Weiss for instructions on how to include the map in your story or website.

The report determined on-the-ground outcomes of 795 unique U.S. public land and Forest Legacy projects proposed or administered by the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and Forest Service between Fiscal Year 2014 and Fiscal Year 2017. It also provides case studies for eight LWCF projects, including over 7,000 acres protected along Trumbull Creek in Montana in 2016; over 4,000 acres protected in Tennessee’s Sherwood Forest in 2015; and the ongoing effort to protect nearly 3,000 acres of El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico.

Read the report