Save the Land and Water Conservation Fund
What is the Land and Water Conservation Fund?
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) began in 1965 as a simple idea: federal revenues from offshore drilling fees should be used to support the conservation of our land and waterways. These are not taxpayer dollars. LWCF has provided funds to create state and local parks; conserve farms, ranches, and forests; and enhance access to the outdoors for people all across the country. Massachusetts has received approximately $229 million over the past five decades to protect places such as such the Cape Cod National Seashore, Great Meadows and Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuges, and Minute Man National Historical Park.
Outdoor recreation accounts for $887 billion in direct consumer spending every year and supports 7.6 million jobs across the country. In Massachusetts alone, active outdoor recreation generates $16.2 billion in consumer spending, 120,000 jobs, and produces $911 million annually in state and local tax revenue. That’s a return on investment of 4:1. Additionally, each year over 2.4 million people hunt, fish, or enjoy wildlife-watching in Massachusetts, contributing over $1.6 billion in wildlife recreation spending to the state economy.
Diverting Funding and Expiration
A recent bipartisan poll found that 82% of voters support continued investment in this critical conservation fund, and LWCF has long enjoyed broad bipartisan support in Congress. The program is authorized to receive up to $900 million each year—but nearly every year, despite its widespread support, Congress diverts much of the funds authorized for this program and spends it on things other than conservation. The President’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget proposal would completely gut the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Under this proposal, no projects would be funded for federal land conservation at America’s National Parks, National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, and other public lands. State grant programs to support local recreation facilities, state parks, wildlife habitat, and other community conservation priorities would also be completely wiped out. LWCF is facing a critical deadline in September 2018 when its authorization expires, putting this popular and longstanding program in jeopardy.
Now is the time to ensure funds retained in the LWCF account are used for their intended conservation and recreation purposes. Call your member of congress and senators and tell them to fight for the authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. To find out who represents you and how to contact them, please visit WhereDoIVoteMA.com. If you prefer not to call or email your elected officials directly, please add your voice to the chorus of LWCF supporters by adding your name to petitions from the League of Conservation Voters and the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition .