Land and Water Conservation Fund | Montana Audubon

Conservation Policy

Montana Audubon works at the local, state and national policy levels to protect our natural heritage.


Land and Water Conservation Fund

Update: August 4, 2020

Victory! The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) was signed into law! This is a historic moment for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), as GAOA ensures full and permanent funding of LWCF. Today’s action will ensure the protection of our favorite lands & waters in Montana and across America!

Update: June 17, 2020

We all did it! The US Senate just passed the Great American Outdoors Act, which fully and permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund! Thank you to Senator Tester and Senator Daines, and all 73 Senators who voted to pass this legislation! On to the House of Representatives!

Update: February 2020

Another Blow to Preserving Montana’s Natural Heritage

Last fall we “flocked together” in Great Falls and Billings to make sure our voices were heard when it came to full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Yesterday the President released his proposed budget. As usual – he slashed funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund by 97%. Montana’s delegation must reject this budget, and continue to work towards legislation that would fully fund LWCF.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the most successful conservation and recreation program in America’s history – and vitally important to Montana’s economy and way of life. The President’s recommended budget would reduce funding by 97%, a reduction in funds completely unacceptable to the 75% of Montanans who support full funding for LWCF. Montana’s delegation must show a unified front in support of full, dedicated funding for LWCF, and work with Congressional leadership to prioritize permanent legislation to fully fund LWCF.

The President’s proposed budget – slashing funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund by 97% – is proof that we must pass legislation for full, dedicated funding for LWCF. LWCF should not be mired in annual appropriations battles; Montana’s wildlife habitat, generational ranches, and recreational economy needs certainty. Our delegation must all unite in support of full, dedicated funding and work with Congressional leadership to move forward permanent legislation.

Update: September 2019

Momentum for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund is growing in congress: bills currently in the Senate and House would guarantee the full, authorized $900 million annually for LWCF, which could not be otherwise raided by the annual appropriations process. Both bills have strong, bipartisan support: as of 9/25/2019, the house bill has 200 and the senate bill 48, which includes both Montana Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester.

Montana Representative Greg Gianforte has still not expressed support for the house bill.

A recent letter from a group of bipartisan senators to congressional leaders concisely expresses the importance of the LWCF and why it consistently resonates with politicians and members on the public from both political parties.

Montana Audubon and our conservation partners are working around the state to inform the public about the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and it’s profound impact in Montana. We are hosting public events in Great Falls and Billings this October, and we will be flying to Washington DC this fall to let our decision makers know that the LWCF deserves full funding, in perpetuity, to protect the natural assets of Montana and the nation.

On September 26th, the Senate Committee on Appropriations voted to approve $465 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund for Fiscal Year 2020. This disappointing move and continued failure to fully fund this successful program proves the need for passage of legislation guaranteeing full, permanent funding. Montanans support and look to leadership from our delegation to pass legislation for full, dedicated funding for LWCF.

We urge all Montanans who watch wildlife, recreate on public lands, enjoy clean drinking water and support our unique outdoor way of life to get behind the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Stay tuned for more information about LWCF and what you can do to help! #fundLWCF

Established in 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund was created to help steward and protect our nation’s precious natural assets for all Americans. The LWCF is sustained by offshore oil and gas drilling royalties and has provided critical conservation funding for national parks, landscape-scale habitat projects, water quality, wildlife and even local parks and recreation areas for over five decades: all at no charge to taxpayers.

In Montana, $619 million in LWCF funding has been used to conserve and protect some of our most iconic landscapes since the establishment of the program: places like the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, the Rocky Mountain Front, Glacier National Park and many others have received conservation funding via the LWCF. By protecting drinking water, cultural sites, natural areas, wildlife habitat and open space, Montana and the nation have profoundly benefited from this visionary conservation program.

In March 2019, the Land and Water Conservation Fund was permanently reauthorized with strong bipartisan congressional support. However, dedicated funding for the LWCF was never established. For the program to do its job, full, dedicated funding of $900 million annually, is needed.

Montana Audubon strongly supports the LWCF. Birders, hunters, campers hikers and everyone who enjoys our national lands benefit from America’s conservation program: stay tuned to learn about what you can do to support the LWCF! #fundLWCF

Click here to learn more about the national coalition to fully fund the LWCF.

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