LOS ANGELES – Ten cities and conservation groups recently passed resolutions urging Congress to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which expired due to congressional inaction in September.
Buena Park; California City; Carson; Del Mar; Eureka; Laguna Beach; Modesto; Rancho Simi Valley Parks and Recreation Department; Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority; and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy have asked incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, incoming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the California delegation to exercise their leadership in prioritizing and saving the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund, created in 1964, is one of our nation’s oldest and most successful conservation programs. It has helped local communities conserve irreplaceable lands and beaches, protect critical wildlife habitat and improve outdoor recreation opportunities in every state, including California.
“As the primary public open space acquisition agencies in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority urge Congress to support permanent reauthorization and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said Joseph T. Edmiston, executive director of Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.
“The LWCF has been instrumental in preserving local parkland, including popular Palo Comado Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, most of which was devastated by last month’s Woolsey Fire,” Edmiston said. “In this region of more than 10 million people, LCWF is critical to the continued protection of natural areas, wildlife habitat and open space — from urban parks to large landscapes — and getting kids and families outdoors.”
A recent national poll conducted for the National Wildlife Federation by Public Policy Polling found 74 percent of respondents supported Land and Water Conservation Fund reauthorization and funding.
The survey, which included 662 registered voters, also found that 63 percent of voters “would feel more favorably” about their member of Congress if he or she voted to renew LWCF. Nearly half of the survey’s participants (48 percent) reported they would feel “less favorably” about their representative if he or she voted for reauthorization of LWCF but not funding.
“In the urbanizing world in which we find ourselves, preservation of the natural becomes ever more important to my constituents and to my community as the key to a healthy and fulfilling life experience,” said Dwight Worden, mayor of Del Mar.
“Congress must fully fund and permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund before members pack up for the year,” Worden said. “We can build more shopping centers, more apartments, and more roads, but we cannot recreate even a simple songbird. Once our natural assets are gone, it is forever. Reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund is a must.”
In addition to funding improvements to parks, beaches, trails and outdoor spaces, the Land and Water Conservation Fund’s funds land purchases to establish and add to our national parks, forests, monuments and wildlife refuges, which in turn help drive California’s economy.
California’s outdoor recreation industry stimulates $92 billion of economic activity annually. This translates into 691,000 jobs, which generate $30.4 billion in wages and salaries and also adds $6.2 billion to state and local tax bases.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund uses fees from offshore oil and gas revenues — at no cost to taxpayers — to invest in urban parks, walking and biking trails, wildlife habitat, historic sites, national parks and other open spaces.
Yet nearly every year, instead of providing the Land and Water Conservation Fund with its authorized level of $900 million annually, Congress diverts much of this funding to purposes other than conserving our most important lands and waters.
To ensure this practice ends, Buena Park; California City; Carson; Del Mar; Eureka; Laguna Beach; Modesto; Rancho Simi Valley Parks and Recreation Department; Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority; and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy all passed resolutions and signed letters urging Congress to reauthorize and fully fund the conservation program.
https://www.lwcfcoalition.com/ — See state links on the home page.
http://www.invw.org/2012/06/11/lwcf-grants-database-1283/ — Database of all state, county and city LWCF grants from 1965 to 2011