The U.S. Department of the Interior recently released the annual apportionment for the Land and Water Conservation Fund State Assistance Program. This year, the total apportionment was $170.6 million in grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to all 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia for outdoor recreation and conservation projects. Congress appropriated these funds in February for Fiscal Year2019, and the apportionment for each state is determined by a formula that places most of the emphasis on state population.
The funds flow through state governments and then — in most states — a portion of this money goes to local governments to provide funding for local parks. These funds help in creating new parks or redeveloping existing parks and public outdoor recreation sites. The LWCF State Assistance Program has strict requirements that ensure projects funded through the program are used for outdoor recreation in perpetuity.
Information on the total apportionment that your state received can be found here.
States use the funds in accordance with their respective statewide comprehensive outdoor recreation plan (SCORP) and have a competitive grant program in order to award the funding to local agencies. If your agency is interested in being considered for these funds, the best place to start is to determine the correct contact for your state.
Another great opportunity to learn more about this program is coming up at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. On Thursday, September 26, from 1-2:15 p.m. in Room 328 of the Baltimore Convention Center, I will be moderating an education session called LWCF State Assistance Program: The Ins and Outs of This Federal Funding Source for Local Parks. This session will feature the two National Park Service officials who oversee the state assistance program and can answer your questions about the application process, the rules and the requirements. This session will also feature the Deputy Secretary of Conservation and Technical Services for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, who will speak to how you can work with your state to receive this funding. There will be plenty of time for questions during this session and it is open to anyone attending the NRPA Annual Conference. Hope to see you there!
Kyle Simpson is NRPA’s Senior Government Affairs Manager