Yesterday, February 11th, the Department of Interior announced changes to how the agency can direct Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) dollars. Interior strengthened the landmark conservation law by rescinding a November 8th, 2020 order that prevented purchasing federal lands or waters through LWCF. You may remember the headwinds The LWCF experienced earlier this past fall with the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act. The now-rescinded order, however, constrained the way the program could conserve habitats. The LWCF is one of the most effective and supported federal programs, and it comes at zero cost to tax payers; this action supports the program’s mission.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been crucial to protecting public lands, conserving wildlife habitats, and improving access to outdoor recreation. Interior’s actions today affirm our support for one of America’s most successful and popular conservation programs,” said Shannon A. Estenoz, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Fish and Wildlife and Parks, in a press release.
“We are pleased the Department is doing away with rules that could have crippled getting these critical dollars to the ground,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Sportsmen and sportswomen want to ensure that the LWCF is working to increase public access to outdoor recreation opportunities and conserve important habitats. This is going to require investments in agency capacity, prioritization of areas with recreational value, and coordination between federal, state, and private partners. We appreciate that hunters and anglers are being heard in this process.”