MEDIA ALERT – Omnibus Appropriations bill includes $306 million for Land and Water Conservation Fund

January 14, 2014

Key Washington outdoor recreation and conservation projects funded

Late yesterday, Congress released an omnibus Appropriations bill which includes significant funding for outdoor recreation and conservation in Washington state, including $306 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to protect some of the nation’s most iconic places, enhance local economies and increase access to recreation.

Below is a list of Washington conservation projects that were included in that bill:

  • $3 million for Pysht Coastal Forest in Jefferson County to protect productive working forest, supporting local forestry jobs and ensuring watershed protection and critical salmon spawning habitat.
  • $4 million for Klickitat Canyon Working Forest in Klickitat County to protect the scenic river canyon from low-density residential development, preserving public recreational access, local jobs and mule deer migration pathways.
  • $3 million for Washington Cascades – Yakima Basin in Kittitas County to protect the headwaters of the Yakima River to ensure water will be available and clean in the future and protect habitat for elk, mule deer, steelhead and bull trout.

The bill also includes

  • $48 million nationally for the LWCF stateside grants program, a portion of which will go to local parks in Washington State, and
  • $27 million nationally for the Cooperative Endangered Species Grants program, which provides grants to help states and private landowners comply with the Endangered Species Act.
The House Appropriations bill last year included no funding for LWCF. With this legislation, Congress has rejected that attack and has recognized the importance of protecting our outdoor heritage as the program approaches its 50th anniversary.
Washington’s Congressional Delegation has led the charge for funding and reauthorization of the program. Recently, Senator Patty Murray secured a reserve fund for full funding of LWCF in the budget agreement, Senator Maria Cantwell co-sponsored legislation, S. 338, for full funding of LWCF and Congressman Dave Reichert led a letter of support for LWCF joined by 27 fellow House Republicans.
About LWCF
Created by Congress in 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund is the nation’s premier federal grant program for conservation and outdoor recreation. The program uses no taxpayer dollars. Instead, $900 million in offshore oil and gas lease revenue is meant to be invested in parks and outdoor recreation opportunities each year. However, a majority of LWCF funds continue to be diverted for unrelated purposes.