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.
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.