US Department of Interior announces $170.6 Million in grants to support state parks and outdoor recreation through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
Texas outdoor recreation and conservation projects to receive over $9 Million of non-taxpayer dollars from the LWCF
On September 5, 2019, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced $170,623,713 million in grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to all 50 States, five U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia for outdoor recreation and conservation projects.
Texas will receive $9,746,191 for state-identified outdoor recreation and conservation projects such as state park improvement projects, rehabilitating or upgrading existing parks, and opening landlocked public lands.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was established by Congress in 1964. The LWCF’s goal is to ensure public access to outdoor recreation resources for present and future generations by providing non-taxpayer dollars to federal, state, and local governments to purchase land, water, and wetlands as well as conserving existing outdoor recreation areas for public use, hunting, fishing, and enjoyment. LWCF funds are obtained from Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas lease revenues, not through tax revenues. Since its inception, more than $4.4 billion has been made available to state and local governments for more than 43,000 projects.
“Using zero taxpayer dollars, LWCF invests earnings from offshore oil and gas leasing to help rehabilitate and improve infrastructure at state and local parks and other recreation areas,” said Secretary Bernhardt.
Earlier this year, Congress overwhelmingly approved the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in legislation titled the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, and was signed into law by President Trump on March 12, 2019. However, there is still more work to be done. The introduced Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act (S. 1081, H.R. 3195) would fully dedicate $900 million to LWCF without subjecting it to the annual appropriations process where legislators will typically try to divert funding from its intended purpose. BHA members are actively soliciting their members of Congress to cosponsor and support this bill.
“Fully funding LWCF will greatly assist in maintaining our existing Texas public lands and can finally open up some of our existing landlocked public lands,” said Michael Panasci, Texas BHA Chapter Chair. “The permanent reauthorization of the LWCF was a big win for all hunters and anglers, however we must continue the fight to fully dedicate these non-taxpayer revenues to the LWCF.”
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands and waters. With chapters in 45 states and 3 Canadian provinces, BHA members have identified access to public lands and streams as a priority issue for American hunters and anglers, and lack of access is cited by sportsmen and women as the No. 1 reason why we stop pursuing our passions. BHA works to enhance public access by:
- Defending Stream Access
- Advocating for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
- Working to Enhance Access to Public Land
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.