WASHINGTON, DC – The Department of Agriculture and Home Affairs announced their planned FY2022 allocations of $ 2.8 billion to projects, grants and programs approved under the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to benefit business, recreation and support access to public land. The investments are in line with and help drive America the Beautiful Initiative, the decade-long, voluntary national conservation effort recently launched by the Biden-Harris administration.
GAOA established the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund (LRF) and approved up to $ 1.9 billion per year from fiscal 2021 through fiscal 2025 to reduce deferred maintenance on public land and Indian schools. GAOA also provided ongoing, full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) of $ 900 million per year to secure public access and improve recreational opportunities on public land, protect waterways and wildlife preserve the benefits of the ecosystem for local communities.
“Our national forests and meadows are places of refuge and enjoyment for millions of visitors every year,” said Agriculture Minister Tom Vilsack. “These investments provide the framework for better access, experiences and partnerships that not only promote tourism and recreation, but also protect America’s public land while creating jobs and opportunities in rural communities.”
“One of the best investments we can make is protecting the land and waters that feed us and future generations. Today we are making critical investments that create tens of thousands of jobs, protect the environment, and help national parks and public land meet the challenges of climate change and increasing visitor numbers. “ said Home Secretary Deb Haaland. “Deferred maintenance means a backlog of much-needed repairs and improvements in our managed territories. In particular, I am delighted that funding the Bureau of Indian Education schools will help ensure that we provide a safe and reliable space where students and educators alike can focus on learning. “
A list of LRF project funding for FY2022 is available on the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund project list
A list of the LWCF project distribution for FY 2022 is available in the Land and Water Conservation Fund project list
For a list of USDA Forest Service FY 2022 projects, see the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund project list
National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund (LRF)
The USDA Forest Service and Interior’s deferred maintenance projects for fiscal 2022 are expected to support over 20,000 jobs and generate nearly $ 2.2 billion in local communities. The investments will advance the Biden Harris administration’s goal of creating and better rebuilding well-paid unionized jobs by addressing the Bureau of’s critical deferred maintenance needs in America’s national parks, national game reserves, recreational areas, national forests, grasslands and schools Tackle Indian Education.
The 484 LRF delayed maintenance projects planned by the USDA Forest Service and the 63 projects planned by Interior will improve recreational facilities, water and utility infrastructure, schools and other historic buildings. Other projects aim to improve visitor access by restoring and repairing roads, paths, bridges and parking lots.
The investments included in the budget application for the LRF will allow Interior to handle more than $ 1.2 billion of backlog maintenance across the country and support Interior’s overall portfolio of infrastructure investments.
Combined with last year, the LRF funding for fiscal 2022 will enable the two agencies to run delayed maintenance projects in all 50 states and several U.S. territories.
Land and Water Protection Fund (LWCF)
According to the Home Office’s Office of Policy Analysis, an estimated 501 million visits were made to Interior properties in fiscal year 2019, representing an estimated $ 34.8 billion in added value, $ 60.6 billion in economic output and approximately 469,000 jobs supported. Fiscal year 2020 also saw unprecedented visitor numbers to the national forests and meadows as Americans sought outdoor recreation and relief during the pandemic. In total, the national forest areas received more than 168 million visits, supported approximately 161,000 jobs, and contributed $ 13.5 billion to the country’s gross domestic product.
LWCF investments will improve recreational opportunities across America to protect important natural and cultural heritage sites, and state and local governments will provide grants to support locally run conservation and outdoor recreation projects. The projects selected for fiscal year 2022 align with key priorities for the Biden-Harris administration, including strengthening resilience to the effects of climate change, protecting biodiversity and other natural resource values, benefiting underserved or vulnerable communities, and evidence a strong local partnership.
The FY2022 budget builds on these investments by allocating $ 700.9 million to the LWCF’s land acquisition and grant programs within the Department of the Interior, including $ 19 million from freely available funds. The Forest Service will invest more than $ 94 million to fund 28 projects under the Forest Legacy Program and $ 123 million to fund projects under the Land Acquisition Program, including projects for access to recreation and other needs .
The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in 2020 was the culmination of a decade-long bipartisan effort to fulfill the promise of the original Land and Water Conservation Fund Act and to fund the LWCF programs in full and on a permanent basis. In 2020, GAOA allocated $ 900 million in mandatory LWCF resources for conservation and recreational activities managed by Interior and the USDA Forest Service. In May, Interior announced $ 150 million grant opportunities to local communities as part of the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership grant program. This competitive program, funded by the LWCF, enables urban communities to create and revitalize outdoor recreational spaces and connect people with nature in economically underserved communities.
In addition to these funds, the budget also estimates US $ 128.3 million for FY2022 government grants through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act.
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