President Obama announced plans to request full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in his FY17 budget request. According to the announcement from the Department of Interior, in 2017, the President’s budget calls for $900 million in conservation and recreation projects, through a combination of discretionary ($475 million) and mandatory ($425 million) funding, and pursues permanent authorization in annual mandatory funding beginning in FY18.
National Wildlife Refuge Association President David Houghton had this to say:
“President Obama is creating a great legacy of land and water conservation by requesting full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and recommending permanent authorization in annual mandatory funding for the Fund’s programs beginning in 2018. Giving federal land managers the resources they need to partner with local communities on land conservation projects means critical wildlife habitat can be protected and local communities can conserve valuable land for future generations.”
Under the president’s request, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would get $35,884,000 in discretionary funding and $74,426,000 in mandatory funding. The mandatory side will only be funded should Congress create full and permanent funding for the program and remove it from the annual appropriations process.
About the Land and Water Conservation Fund: The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was established 51 years ago to protect valuable conservation lands and water for future generations. The fund is derived from offshore oil and gas drilling proceeds, but has been underfunded by Congress for years, delaying progress on important conservation projects across the nation. Since it’s inception, this successful conservation program has supported more than 42,000 national, state and local parks and outdoor recreation projects in all 50 states. For every $1 invested through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, there is an estimated return of $4 in local economic activity.