Dear Chairman Rogers, Chairwoman Mikulski, Ranking Member Lowey, and Ranking Member Shelby,
Since 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been one of the most successful federal conservation programs. LWCF has played a crucial role in the conservation of our nation's natural resources, and the program has long enjoyed bipartisan support. As we move toward a crucial time in the appropriations process, it is essential that LWCF remain a Congressional priority.
LWCF is premised on a reasonable bargain, utilizing royalties from offshore oil and gas production to conserve important natural resources. LWCF dollars conserve important fish and wildlife habitat, and improve access for economically important outdoor recreation like hunting and angling. LWCF funds have been leveraged with private dollars to help conserve wetlands and native grasslands through voluntary easements on private lands across the Prairie Pothole region. In the West, Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars have conserved some of the best big game and fish habitat in the world, and have assured that those acres remain accessible to hunters and anglers. And in the South, LWCF funding of Forest Legacy projects have kept working forest lands working while enhancing habitat for bobwhite quail, wild turkeys, and native brook trout. LWCF is helping to conserve landscapes critical to sportsmen.
Hunters and anglers also support efforts, like Making Public Lands Public, that would dedicate a small percentage of Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars to enhance recreational access. Loss of access is the number one reason why sportsmen stop hunting and fishing, and LWCF can be part of the solution to improving recreational access to public lands. Our organizations also support a more permanent solution to Land and Water Conservation funding, and encourage lawmakers to consider ways to take the Land and Water Conservation Fund off-budget. We look forward to working with lawmakers on a path towards dedicated funding for LWCF.
Sportsmen and women support the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and recognize the program as essential to the future of hunting and fishing in the United States. On behalf of millions of hunters and anglers nationwide, we urge Congressional appropriators to keep the promise of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, by allocating funding in fiscal year 2015 at the highest level possible.
American Sportfishing Association
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance
Izaak Walton League of America
Mule Deer Foundation
National Wild Turkey Federation
North American Grouse Partnership
Outdoor Industry Association
Pope and Young Club
Snook and Gamefish Foundation
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Wildlife Management Institute