Statement: Reauthorization and Increased Funding of Land & Water Conservation Fund Will Be a Victory for the Chesapeake

Statement attributed to: President and CEO Joel Dunn, Chesapeake Conservancy

Reauthorization and Increased Funding of Land & Water Conservation Fund Will Be a Victory for the Chesapeake

Annapolis, MD – Chesapeake Conservancy President & CEO Joel Dunn issued the following statement in response to the FY 2016 spending bill which will reauthorize and increase funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Currently under consideration in the House of Representatives, the Senate is expected to take up the spending bill later this week. Included in the bill is nearly $11 million for land conservation by federal land management agencies and $2 million for public access through the National Park Service’s Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Trails Program.

The Chesapeake Conservancy is the lead non-profit partner for the Rivers of the Chesapeake proposal, which had the support of 5 governors, 9 US Senators, 17 members of the House, 4 American Indian tribes, 34 nonprofits and numerous local elected officials.

“This is a great day for our nation, and a victory for the Chesapeake.  This will mean the protection of approximately 2,100 acres of forests and working farms along the great rivers that feed the Chesapeake Bay and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. The Bay is a National Treasure, as significant and beautiful as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone or Yosemite.

“With the regions’ human population approaching 18 million and with tens of thousands of acres of open space vanishing each year, these LWCF funds could not have come at a better time.  They will be used to conserve land for wildlife and to do the job that nature intended, which is to filter storm water before it reaches the Bay, providing cleaner water for the people of the Chesapeake region.

“The Chesapeake Conservancy applauds President Obama, Congress, and in particular Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, whose tireless efforts have created this lasting legacy for the Chesapeake as she nears retirement. This is an investment in land conservation along the great rivers and special places of the Chesapeake Bay for future generations.  It is our hope that these federal funds also serve as a catalyst for states to follow with support through their state funding programs such as Program Open Space in Maryland, the Keystone Fund in Pennsylvania, the Land Preservation Tax Credit (LPC) in Virginia and the Open Space Program in Delaware.”