This week the United States Senate will consider the S. 3422, the Great American Outdoors Act, which includes provisions to provide full, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and also provide $9.5 billion in funding to address the deferred maintenance backlog on public lands. Sponsored by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), the legislation has broad bipartisan support with 58 cosponsors, many who have been long been steadfast champions for LWCF.
Unless you are new to TU, you’ve undoubtedly heard us talk about LWCF, one our nation’s premier conservation programs. Our members, chapters and state councils have been strong supporters for the program cheering when the program was permanently authorized in 2019, jeering when budgets proposed deep cuts to the program, throwing their weight behind LWCF champions, and sharing stories about why LWCF is good for trout and trout anglers.
We thank you for the countless communications with your elected officials that you’ve sent through the years. The voices of thousands of TU members across the country have made a difference and when the Senate takes up the Great American Outdoors Act, we’ll be one big step closer to finally realizing the LWCF promise for all Americans. We are not over the finish line yet, however, and we are asking you to take action again to urge your members of Congress to make good on this once-in-a-generation opportunity for conservation.
In addition to fully and permanently funding LWCF, S. 3422 includes $9.5 billion in dedicated funding over five years to address deferred maintenance for all public land management agencies. This is funding that can be used to help to fix roads that are bleeding sediment into streams and remove migration barriers for trout and salmon at road crossings, such as undersized culverts.
Trout Unlimited partners with both the Department of the Interior and Forest Service on collaborative restoration projects and in recent years we have leveraged nearly $43 million in funding to complete restoration projects on Forest Service lands. Much of this work is dedicated to projects that address maintenance backlogs while improving and restoring trout habitat. Additional funding provided by S. 3422 will be leveraged with state and private dollars to maximize the return on investment for these dollars.
Please help ensure a bright future for our outdoor traditions by contacting your members of Congress and urge them to support the Great American Outdoors Act – take action today.