Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the just-passed, bipartisan appropriations bill funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $495 million, an increase of $60 million from last year’s spending bill. The LWCF has been instrumental in preserving some of the nation’s most important and iconic public spaces, and has invested more than $336 million in funding to protect public lands, water resources, and historic sites across New York State. It does this by providing grants to states and local governments to create and protect parks and open spaces, and helping farmers and ranchers continue to steward their private lands in the face of development pressures.
“For over five decades, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has provided millions in federal funds to parks, clean water efforts and historic places across Upstate New York, protecting and preserving their beauty,” said Senator Schumer. “So, now that it’s been permanently reauthorized, I’m proud to announce that I fought to secure a $60 million increase for the LWCF in the just-passed, bi-partisan federal funding bill and will continue my steadfast efforts to secure full, mandatory funding for the program. Passage of this critical funding will help ensure that New Yorkers and Americans alike can continue to enjoy our state’s spectacular public lands, natural areas and historical sites for generations to come.”
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has protected our nation’s natural and historic treasures for years. In New York, it has been vital in preserving landmark sites such as the Adirondack Lakes, the Saratoga Battlefield National Historical Park, and Coney Island Boardwalk,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I’m pleased that the Land and Water Conservation Fund has been awarded funding in this year-end appropriations bill, which will help ensure that our nation’s resources can be preserved for generations to come. I will always fight to protect the natural beauty and historic legacy of New York State.”
The LWCF has provided funding to protect sites of natural and historic importance throughout the country for over 50 years. The LWCF does not rely on taxpayer funds and instead uses revenue collected from offshore oil and gas development to purchase lands from willing sellers for the purposes of conservation. It also provides grants to states for recreation planning, acquisition of lands and waters, and facility development. After Schumer and Gillibrand’s successful push, the LWCF was permanently reauthorized in March. This will provide consistent funding for projects overseen by the program to help preserve national parks and wilderness areas across the country.