Chesapeake Conservancy Applauds Natural Resource Funding Announcement and U.S. Senate Vote

Secretary Jewell Announces $95 Million in Stateside Land & Water Conservation Funding Nationwide – More than $8 Million for Chesapeake Bay Watershed States

Annapolis, MD – Chesapeake Conservancy President & CEO Joel Dunn issued the following statement in response to yesterday’s vote by the United States Senate to permanently authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the announcement earlier this week by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell regarding the distribution of $95 million in stateside LWCF funding nationwide.  The state breakdown shows that more than $8 million will be coming to Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia and will be used to support conservation and recreation projects in local communities.  These stateside LWCF funds are different than federal LWCF funds which are used to add to federal conservation holdings, like national parks and federal forest land. The announcement was made during National Park Week, as the National Park Service celebrates its Centennial.

“The Chesapeake Conservancy applauds the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress for allocating more than $8 million in stateside Land and Water Conservation Funds for the Chesapeake watershed states. With the region’s human population approaching 18 million and with tens of thousands of acres of open space vanishing each year, we welcome this funding which will conserve land for wildlife, provide public access and recreation opportunities and help to do the job that nature intended, by protecting land that can filter storm water before it reaches the Bay, resulting in cleaner water for the people of the Chesapeake region.

“We also applaud the U.S. Senate which voted to permanently authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This is a huge step forward to ensure this important conservation tool will remain available for local, state and federal partners to use. We now urge the U.S. House of Representatives to pass companion legislation.”

According to the Department of the Interior, the LWCF was established by Congress in 1965 to ensure access to outdoor recreation resources for present and future generations, and to provide money to federal agencies and state and local governments to purchase land, water, and wetlands for the benefit of all Americans. Funds are awarded through federal matching grants that leverage public and private investment and enable state and local governments to create, develop, or enhance everything from urban parks to state wildlife management areas to soccer fields. The funds also provide the public with access to rivers, lakes, and other water resources, and permanently conserve these areas for outdoor recreational use and enjoyment.  A recent analysis of the Land and Water Conservation Fund found that every $1 invested in land acquisition generated a $4 return on investment for communities.