Last week, Congress passed their final appropriations package for the current year, providing essentially level funding for the conservation programs that land trusts use most. President Obama signed the bill on Friday.
At first glance, there seems to be little worth declaring victory over. Funding for most programs is basically stagnant, with only a few marginal increases. However, these numbers are at a significantly higher level than zero, which is what the House originally proposed for all land conservation. In recent years, the House has proposed big cuts, but the programs been saved by Congress’ failure to negotiate an agreement. This year, the House and Senate did reach an agreement, and with help from land trusts like yours and other key partners, we fought back with site visits, meetings and record support on "Dear Colleague" letters to secure conservation funding. The result is over $331 million for conservation this year.
With the appropriations package funding the government through September 30, Congress will soon begin working on a bill for Fiscal Year 2015. President Obama is expected to release his proposed budget in the coming weeks, which will be the starting point for negotiations. In an era of tight budgets, level funding is no sure thing, so conservation programs could once again face disproportionate cuts. Inviting your Member of Congress to tour a LWCF-, Forest Legacy- or NAWCA-funded project is a great way to make sure they are aware of the impacts of these programs and are in a position to defend them.
Thanks for all your help,
P.S. -- This email list is for land trust leaders that are interested in federal funding for conservation. Please let me know if there others at your organization or its partners who would like to subscribe.
Director of Public Policy | Land Trust Alliance
1660 L Street, NW Suite
1100Washington, D.C. 20036
202-800-2230 | Email |