Rocky Mountain Front, Montana © Simon Williams

Speak Up For Land & Water

The Land and Water Conservation Fund

Healthy land. Clean water. Recreational opportunities. Vibrant working landscapes.
Support full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The Nature Conservancy supports protecting America’s land and water through full funding and reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), as stated in S.338. The Conservancy also looks to reconnect Americans to nature by restoring critical large landscapes such as the Everglades and Flint Hills Conservation Areas.

Funding for the LWCF program is provided by revenue fees from offshore oil and gas drilling and directed toward multiple public benefits:
  • Important recreational access for hunting and fishing
  • Working farms and ranches
  • National parks and forests
  • Neighborhood parks and trails
  • Historic battlefields and cultural sites
  • Fish and wildlife refuges

Conservation=Economic Gains

Sustained investment in LWCF will stimulate our nation's economy, create jobs and shore up our infrastructure. LWCF makes a substantial contribution to these critical priorities by strategically securing the economic asset that our federal, state and local public lands represent:

  • Hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor recreation activities contribute a total of $725.5 billion annually to the economy, supporting 6.15 million jobs (one of every 20 jobs in the United States) and stimulating 8 percent of all consumer spending. The ripple effect of outdoor recreation activities is even greater, with an estimated economic impact of $1.2 trillion and an estimated employment impact of 12 million jobs annually.
  • More broadly, outdoor recreation, nature conservation, and historical preservation contribute a total of $1.06 trillion annually to the economy, supporting 8.4 million jobs—or 1 of every 16 jobs in the United States.1 These jobs are home-grown and non-exportable.
  • Property values of homes near parks and protected areas are repeatedly more than 20 percent higher than similar properties elsewhere.
  • Visitor-driven business stimulates the economy in local communities surrounding national parks and other public lands.
  • Protecting water through watershed, forest and wetland conservation is the most cost-effective way to ensure clean and adequate water supplies. The services provided by natural systems (such as flood mitigation, water purification, carbon sequestration, etc.) in the 48 contiguous United States have a value amounting to $1.6 trillion annually, which is greater than 10 percent of U.S. GDP.

Overview of the Fund

The Land and Water Conservation Fund’s goal is to balance the use of one natural resource—oil and gas—with the conservation of another by using a portion of drilling fees to protect important land and water resources. But despite an increase in energy production, funding for land and water protection has been low and unpredictable. The program is authorized to receive a small percentage of offshore oil and gas fee revenues—up to $900 million per year—but most of these funds have been diverted elsewhere. With America losing one million acres of working lands, including ranches, farms and forests to development each year, it is critical that we fix funding for the LWCF for the next generation of conservation.

Every State Depends on the Land and Water Conservation Fund

From the Grand Canyon National Park to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped protect some of America’s most treasured places—conserving national parks and public recreation areas, lands by rivers, working forests, farms and ranches, fish and wildlife refuges, trails, and state and local parks.

The Nature Conservancy supports full funding and reauthorization (S.338) of LWCF to fix the program and guarantee oil and gas proceeds are reinvested annually to a “true” LWCF trust fund.

Americans Strongly Support Protecting Our Land and Water

  • More than 85% of Americans support funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund at its authorized level of $900 million per year.
  • Nearly nine in ten voters opposed future diversions of funding. Support came from 93% of Democrats, 84% of independents, and 78% of Republicans.

Contact:
Christy Plumer, Christie McGregor or Tom Cors
The Nature Conservancy
(703) 841-5300

1 Lori Weigel, Public Opinion Strategies, 2011
2 Lori Weigel, Public Opinion Strategies, 2011
3 The Trust for Public Land, LandVote.org Database

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I know that investing in conservation is the only way we can help keep America beautiful, strong, prosperous and healthy. I am proud to join a community of people who speak up for nature to help save the places we love.