Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Congress Votes To Renew Federal Land And Water Conservation Fund

By: Bill Kunze, Executive Director, PA Chapter of the Nature Conservancy

After months of uncertainty, Congress gave a breath of life recently to a program that has successfully safeguarded the lands and waters in Pennsylvania and throughout the country for 50 years: the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The spending bill just approved by Congress includes a three-year reauthorization of LWCF and $450 million for the coming fiscal year. That’s a step in the right direction, ensuring that LWCF will continue investing in America’s lands and waters, creating a myriad of long-lasting benefits for you and me.
There are many people to thank for this outcome including members of our Pennsylvania Congressional delegation, and the many Pennsylvania residents who voiced their support.
What has made LWCF work so well all these years is its funding source: A small portion of federal revenues from offshore oil and gas leases. It uses revenues from the sale of one national resource to invest in our shared natural resources and iconic landmarks, ensuring outdoor recreation, clean water and healthy lands for all Americans.
Here in Pennsylvania, LWCF has provided nearly $300 million in funding over the past five decades, protecting places such as Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Valley Forge National Historical Park, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the Allegheny National Forest, and more recently the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
LWCF has helped all 50 states and 98 percent of all U.S. counties, supporting protection of 3 million acres of recreation lands and more than 29,000 recreation facilities, matched by local monies and driven by local priorities.
While it’s a relief to see LWCF funded for another year, let’s make sure Congress provides permanent staying power for America’s most popular conservation program. Conserving our nation’s lands and waters is not a short-term need; it is a long-term foundation for our future.
Visit Here for examples of Land and Water Conservation Fund projects in Pennsylvania.
For more information on TNC projects, programs, initiatives and special events in Pennsylvania, visit the PA Chapter of the Nature Conservancy webpage.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from TNC-Pennsylvania.

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