The Obama Adminsitrations fiscal year 2014 budget request includes, for the first time ever, a proposal to authorize permanent mandatory funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) programs, with full funding at $900 million annually beginning in 2015.

The request includes $400 million in discretionary funds, supplemented by an additional $200 million in mandatory funds in 2014.


LWCF programs are funded from oil and gas development revenue and used to conserve lands and support outdoor recreation within Interior and the U.S. Department of Agricultures Forest Service. Despite pressure from Outdoor Industry Association and the conservation lobby, LWCF has only been fully funded once in its nearly 50 years of existence.  The total 2014 LWCF funding request is $255 million above the 2012 enacted level, an additional $184 million for Interior programs.

The Administration said its total budget request of $11.9 billion for Interior maintains its commitment to Americas Great Outdoors with a $5.3 billion investment, an increase of $179.8 million above the 2012 enacted level. The initiative seeks to connect Americans to the outdoors and expand access to recreational areas; establish and revitalize great urban parks and community green spaces; and conserve and restore significant landscapes and rivers by combining federal, state, local, non-profit and other private resources.

The budget proposal calls for Interiors land management operations to receive $4.7 billion, including $1.1 billion for the Bureau of Land Management; $1.3 billion for the Fish and Wildlife Service; and $2.3 billion for the National Park Service. This funds the operations and maintenance of 401 NPS units, 561 FWS units, and BLM National Landscape Conservation units and other public lands. The areas managed by these bureaus hosted more than 390 million visitors last year.

The Administration proposes targeting funding for an Interior-USDA Collaborative Landscape component that aligns both agencies land acquisition efforts to support community-driven conservation goals in key landscapes: the Crown of the Continent in the intermountain West, the Southwest Desert, the Longleaf Pine in the Southeast, and National Trails. The proposed federal investments in these landscapes build on locally led conservation efforts, and leverage significant private commitments to land and water conservation in these landscapes. Smart investment in strategic conservation in these areas will prevent further ecosystem decline, which is expected to reduce or preclude the need for future investments in restoration.

Interiors Youth in the Great Outdoors initiative, which employs, educates and engages young people in exploring and preserving Americas natural and cultural heritage, would receive $54.4 million in the proposed budget, an increase of $12.6 million over the 2012 enacted level. By investing in employment and educational opportunities, Interior can reach out and transform the lives of millions of young Americans, while helping to develop the next generation of community and conservation leaders.