- Land and Water Conservation Fund
The United States' Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a
Federal programthat was established by Act of Congressin 1964 to provide monies and matching grants to federal, state and local governments for the acquisition of land and water, and easements on land and water, for the benefit of all Americans. [http://www.fs.fed.us/land/staff/LWCF/index.shtml Land and Water Conservation Fund] , Lands and Realty Management, USDA Forest Service] The main emphases of the fund are recreation and the protection of national natural treasures in the forms of parks and protected forest and wildlife areas. LWCF has a broad-based coalition of support and oversight, including the National Parks and Recreation Association, The Wilderness Society, and the Land Trust Alliance. The primary source of income to the fund is fees paid by companies drilling offshore for oil and gas, with additional minor sources including the sale of surplus federal real estate and taxes on motorboat fuel.
Monies from the Land and Water Conservation Fund have been utilized over the years on projects both large and small. LWCF has helped state agencies and local communities acquire nearly seven million acres (28,000 km²) of land and easements controlling further land, developed project sites including such popular recreational areas as
Harper's Ferryin West Virginia, California's Big SurCoast, and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystemin Montana, helped maintain Yellowstone National Park, and helped to build and maintain "thousands of local playgrounds, soccer fields, and baseball diamonds." [http://www.tpl.org/tier3_cd.cfm?content_item_id=10566&folder_id=191 Federal Programs: Land and Water Conservation Fund] , Trust for Public Land]
Though LWCF is authorized at a budget cap of $900 million annually, this level that has been met only twice during the program's nearly four decades. The program is divided into two distinct funding pools: state grants and federal acquisition funds. The distribution formula takes into account population density and other factors.
Each year, based on project demands from communities as well as input from the federal land management agencies, the President makes recommendations to Congress regarding funding for specific LWCF projects. In Congress, these projects go through an Appropriations Committee review process: given the intense competition among projects, funding is generally only provided for those projects with universal support. Initially authorized for a twenty-five-year period, the LWCF has been extended for another twenty-five years, its current mandate running until January 2015.
* [http://www.tpl.org/tier3_cd.cfm?content_item_id=10566&folder_id=191 Federal Programs: Land and Water Conservation Fund]
* [http://www.nps.gov/ncrc/programs/lwcf/pub.htm National Park Service: Land and Water Conservation Fund programs]
* [http://www.conservationfund.org/?article=2012&back=true (The Conservation Fund) Mike McQueen, 2000. "Land and Water Conservation Fund: An assessment of its past, present and future"]
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