05 • 25 • 2020

Congress Will Vote on the Land & Water Conservation Fund

The Senate will vote on the Land & Water Conservation Fund this June. Please ask your federal leaders to support this critical program!

The Surfrider Foundation has been fighting for years to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), one of America’s most effective conservation programs. Now, that dream could become a reality if bipartisan support can be rallied in Congress to pass the Great American Outdoors Act.

Last week, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422) will be taken up in the Senate in June. The bill includes full and permanent funding for the LWCF, as well as other provisions that benefit our nation’s parks and natural areas. For Congress, which has understandably been focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, it signals a rare and important effort to protect natural resources and support public enjoyment of these places.

Huntington Beach Wetlands is one of many places to benefit from LWCF

Indeed, the backing from both Democrats and Republicans shows that support for our nation’s public lands and waters can straddle the political spectrum. Not only does the LWCF conserve outstanding natural areas in all 50 U.S. states, it enhances outdoor recreation by improving public access and providing amenities such as walkways, restrooms and parking. As such, it provides a vital economic stimulus to communities across the country grappling with the effects of COVID-19.

For those of us who recreate on the coast, the Land and Water Conservation Fund offers particular benefits. Over the past fifty years, the LWCF has helped protect some of America’s most iconic beaches and important coastal resources. Surfrider recently published a report detailing how the program has protected countless miles of coastline and enhanced local communities. We also produced this short film illustrating the amazing benefits of the program and the beautiful places it has protected.

Surfrider chapters are campaigning to #FundLWCF

Yet, despite the importance of the LWCF to both natural resources and public use, the program’s budget has routinely been raided by Congress for other purposes. Over the fifty year life of the program, more than $20 billion collected from offshore energy royalties for LWCF purposes has been misdirected. That’s why the Great American Outdoors Act must be passed to ensure that each year, LWCF’s full $900 million is applied toward conservation and recreation goals.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of outdoor recreation for millions of Americans, including the value of close-to-home destinations. More than ever, people are looking to get outside for both exercise and mental health. Moreover, as our country looks to recover from economic shock, investments in recreational areas can serve as a source of jobs and a strategy to support economic development in communities across the country.

The Surfrider Foundation urges all Senators to vote in favor of the Great American Outdoors Act when it comes to the floor in June. We also urge the House of Representatives to pass the bill and send it to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. This historic legislation will benefit all Americans by expanding access to the outdoors, fueling economic growth, and protecting public lands for generations to come. 

Please take action in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund!

Contact your federal representatives click here

Watch Surfrider’s short film on the LWCF click here