Annual Land & Water Conservation Fund Dollars Announced

August 17, 2011

The states, territories, and Washington, DC, will share $37.4 million doled out through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), according to a July 19, 2011, announcement by the Dept. of Interior. The portion for each state is set by a formula established in the LWCF legislation Congress approved in 1964.

Federal LWCF grants to states, which are administered by the National Park Service, match funding provided by states and local entities, and are supposed to be used for local parks, recreation, and conservation projects. The money comes primarily from federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf, supplemented by money from federal outdoor recreation user fees, the federal motorboat fuel tax, and surplus property sales.

This funding for FY 2011 comes late in the year, due in part to the fact that Congress didn't appropriate the money until mid-April 2011. What is happening with parks, recreation, and conservation funding in your area? For state contacts who can tell you what projects will be funded in your audience area, see:

To check on the 246 projects funded through the $33.3 million in state grants distributed in FY 2010, see:

To find all projects in your audience area that have been funded by these grants since the inception of the LWCF, see:

The total federal Congressional appropriation for the state grants each year has been wildly variable, ranging from $376 million in 1979 to $500,000 in 1999. It rose to $144 million in FY 2002, plummeted to $20 million by FY 2009, then rose a little in FY 2010 and 2011.

By law, the total annual amount available for Congress to appropriate since FY 1978 has been $900 million. That includes money that can be allocated to other efforts within the LWCF program, such as acquisition of certain federal lands or conservation of endangered species. But only in 1998 has Congress given the LWCF program the full amount.

The Obama administration says it is trying to have Congress give LWCF the full $900 million for 2014. DoI and NPS spokespersons wouldn't comment on the effect the ongoing federal budget battles may have on that goal.