Celebrating a Huge Win for Conservation

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is finally a permanent part of America’s conservation toolbox! The President signed permanent reauthorization of LWCF into law today, after Congress approved it as part of a package of natural resources bills in February. Both chambers approved the “Lands Package” by impressive bipartisan margins — passing 92-8 in the Senate and 363-62 in the House, and demonstrating how much nature brings us all together. 

LWCF protects wildlife habitat across the country, including Dungeness Spit National Wildlife Refuge. See what else LWCF means “more” of below. Photo by Kimon Belin/Creative Commons.

This is a proud moment for Washington state: our entire Congressional delegation voted in support of the bill.  Sen. Maria Cantwell has been an ardent, outspoken advocate for LWCF for years, using her former position as the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and working closely with Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to champion LWCF and push the legislation forward.  Sen. Cantwell carries on the conservation legacy of the late Washington Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson, the original sponsor of the Land and Water Conservation Act when the Fund was created in the 1960s.

The achievement of permanent LWCF authorization has been many years in the making. From Washington state to Washington DC, from community rallies to the halls of Congress, thousands of people spoke up for our public lands. The Nature Conservancy is proud to be one of the leaders of the nationwide coalition that has worked together for more than five years to mobilize support for LWCF among business and community leaders, grassroots advocates and everyday people. 

Many of you reached out multiple times to your lawmakers – via our Action Center, on social media with the #SaveLWCF message, by making phone calls or even visiting your representatives in person.  Thank you.  Our collective voice has prevailed.

There’s still work to be done: while permanent reauthorization is an excellent start, funding for LWCF is also critical. As energy companies pay royalties to access America’s shared offshore oil and gas resources, LWCF is meant to use that money to invest in other natural resources — our public lands and waters. We urge Congress to pass legislation that fully dedicates these funds to LWCF, allowing the program to support on-the-ground projects across the country as intended.

Today, though, we offer our gratitude to you for speaking up for nature. Together, we delivered Congress the message that our public lands are vital to us all. Thank you for being part of this important moment for nature and people.