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Land and Water Conservation Fund: Current Status and Issues

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Publication Date: June 2005

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS21503

Topic: Environment (Parks, nature reserves, and open spaces)


The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been the principal source of monies for four federal agencies -- the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Forest Service -- to acquire recreational lands since 1965. The LWCF also funds a matching grant program to assist states (and localities) in acquiring recreational lands and developing facilities. The fund accumulates $900 million annually from designated sources. Congress allocates these funds through appropriations each year. Current congressional issues include (1) deciding the amount to appropriate each year to each of the four federal agencies, and to the state grant program; (2) identifying which lands should be acquired; and (3) determining whether LWCF funds should be appropriated for additional related purposes. The primary context for debating these issues is Interior appropriations legislation, which is tracked in CRS Report RL32893. This report will be updated periodically.