LWCF Authorized for Three Years


Increased funding for projects

On December 15, the U.S. Senate and House agreed to an omnibus budget deal that would provide funding for government operations and programs through fiscal year (FY) 2016. The measure also reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) through September 2018 and provides $450 million in funding for 2016, an increase of about $144 million over 2015 spending levels. 

LWCF expired on September 30, and reauthorization comes after many months of political wrangling over extending the program and funding levels. Several bipartisan bills were introduced in both chambers to permanently reauthorize LWCF and to increase funding levels, including fully funding the program at $900 million. The deal brokered only reauthorizes the program through 2018 and fell significantly short of the $900 million full funding.

Still, the increased funding over FY2015 levels demonstrates the importance of the program and its state and local projects. Under the deal, funding for state and local projects was also increased to $213.1 million, with $110 million going directly to the State and Local Assistance Program (stateside), $10 million to the American Battlefield Protection Program, about $30 million to Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, and $62 million to the Forest Legacy Program. 

LWCF is completely funded by offshore energy receipts, not taxpayer dollars. Established by Congress in 1964, the LWCF Act designated that a portion of receipts from offshore oil and gas leases be placed into a fund annually for state and local conservation, as well as for the protection of our national treasures, including parks, forests, and wildlife areas. Recent data showed that since the program’s inception, LWCF state and local assistance grants have supported more than 42,000 parks, trail, and recreational projects in 98 percent of U.S. counties, making it one of the most successful federal programs. 

Landscape architects access LWCF funding to plan and design state and local park projects and also work on National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service projects that are funded through LWCF grants. LWCF continues to be one the most important federal programs to the profession, and ASLA will continue to advocate for its success. 


Kevin Fry
Director, PR and

JR Taylor
PR Coordinator