Recently, legislation was introduced in both houses of Congress to provide full and dedicated annual funding to one of our nation’s most important conservation tools, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. If you’re a birder, you’ve benefited from LWCF habitat enhancement projects on National Forests and National Wildlife Refuges. If you’re an angler in Montana, or you raft, kayak or canoe like me, you’ve probably used multiple FWP fishing access sites around the state, many of which were established with LWCF funding. And if you’ve ever taken a dip at city pool, or played soccer/baseball/softball at a town sports field, or picnicked in a local park in any of Montana’s 56 counties, you may have used amenities funded in part or whole by the LWCF (the fund contributed at least $50,000 to the renovation of the pool in my hometown). Many communities would not have been able to afford these facilities on their own.
The LWCF works for all Americans and all Montanans, without using any tax dollars. The LWCF was reauthorized this past spring, but Congress seldom has appropriated full funding. Without full, permanent and dedicated funding, the LWCF doesn’t achieve its full potential of protecting what’s best about the Last Best Place: our wildlife, diverse habitats, working landscapes and overall quality of life.
Please join me in encouraging Montana’s congressional delegation to support bills S 1081 and HR 3195 which, if passed, would provide the predictable, annual funding needed for the LWCF.