On Sunday, September 30th the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), one of our country’s most successful outdoor conservation tools, is set to expire and BHA needs you to take action to prevent it from happening. Since its bi-partisan inception in 1964, the LWCF has contributed close to $4 billion for federal, state and local governments to sustain important lands, waters, conserve fish and wildlife habitat, and to enhance public access to those very same lands and waters. As BHA-NY members, the LWCF’s mission is our own.
Here are some important basics on the LWCF: Click here for more info
- Over 40,000 projects have been funded through the LWCF.
- 2.3 million acres of forest have been protected through grants provided by the LWCF.
- Each $1.00 of LWCF money invested creates $4.00 in economic value.
- The LWCF costs us as taxpayers $0.00. That’s right, $0.00.
The LWCF is funded by a portion of royalties the federal government collects from offshore oil and gas production. As the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition explains: “It was a simple idea: use revenues from the depletion of one natural resource - offshore oil and gas - to support the conservation of another precious resource - our land and water.” Simple to understand and easy to support.
While the LWCF is shared among all 50 states, it recently benefitted us here in New York. In 2017, over 16,000 acres of forestland were purchased to create the Rensselaer Plateau Working Forest. This vast and bountiful stretch of land sits just across the Hudson River from the City of Albany. The Working Forest will provide local mills access to sustainable mixed hardwood timber harvests, nature lovers with cross country skiing and wildlife viewing, and it will give the hunting public access to grouse, whitetail deer, black bear, and wild turkey. It’s a win-win with conservation at its root. The LWCF provided $5.5 million of the $10.5 million in federal funds used to acquire the acreage (the other $5 million came from that other stalwart conservation tool, the Pittman-Robertson Fund).
And that’s just a fraction of the more than $336 million the LWCF has contributed to our state in its 54 year history. Other LWCF funded projects in New York include:
- Finger Lakes National Forest
- Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
- Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace and Inaugural Sites
- Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River
- Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge
So whether you plan to head west and enjoy the high terrain hunts of Idaho, a river cut cast in Montana, or stay in New York to wander the fall woods in the Working Forest or a Wildlife Refuge, the LWCF is working to make that opportunity available to you. And now it’s time to do our part for the LWCF and urge our representatives to permanently reauthorize and dedicate full funding before September 30th passes.
And after you’ve contacted your federal reps, make sure you share the importance of the LWCF to hunters, anglers and local economies with your friends. Urge them to contact their own representatives to help us ensure that the benefits of the LWCF are permanently authorized and handed down to the generations of hunters and anglers to come.
Thank you for your part in making sure the LWCF is part of our future.
New York BHA Chair - Todd Waldron
New York BHA Policy Committee Team Leader - Mike Poulopoulos