Conservation Fund Restored
Congress last month restored the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund for three years, a move one Washington environmental group called “a huge relief.”
Of $450 million earmarked for the fund in a year-end budget package, $9.8 million will go to Washington state, the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, a group of 280 corporate and nonprofit partners, said in a statement.
The program “is so important for our state’s economy and way of life,” said Andrea McNamara Doyle, that group’s interim executive director.
The group called on congressional leaders to provide permanent funding.
Since its inception in 1964, the fund has invested nearly $1 million in Island County and $500 million in Washington state, the group said.
It does not not pay salaries or underwrite day-to-day operations or maintenance at any park or reserve it helped create, so no shut-downs or partial closures resulted from its expiration in October.
Projects already funded in fiscal 2016 would have received their money even if it had not been resurrected, said Karin Frank, a spokesperson for the coalition.
The fund helped create or enlarge some of Whidbey’s most beloved natural areas. It recently gave or promised:
$7.3 million to Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve between 1999 and 2008.
$100,000 toward the Fort Ebey campground
$370,000 toward the Fort Ebey and Fort Casey beaches
$138,000 toward enlarging the Trillium Community Forest
$50,000 toward Possession Beach
$142,000 toward Deception Pass State Park
$43,000 toward Camano Park
DAN RICHMAN, Whidbey News-Times Staff firstname.lastname@example.org