WASHINGTON, April 8, 2022 – Today, the Departments of Agriculture and the Department of Home Affairs announced their proposed fiscal 2023 allocations of $2.8 billion to projects, grants and programs approved under the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to support local economies , outdoor recreation, access to public lands, and volunteers support national conservation efforts in every US state.
GAOA established the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund (LRF) and approved up to $1.9 billion per year from FY2021 through FY2025 to reduce deferred maintenance on Indian public lands and schools . GAOA also provides ongoing, full funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) of US$900 million annually to secure public access and improve recreational opportunities on public lands; protect watersheds and wildlife; and preserve the ecosystem’s benefits for local communities.
“We have already seen the incredible impact these investments have had in providing equitable access to public lands and expanding our conservation efforts while creating much-needed opportunities for rural communities across the country,” he said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Each year, millions of visitors take advantage of the outdoor recreational opportunities that our national forests and meadows offer, and this continued investment helps solidify uninterrupted access to these national treasures for our future generations.”
“Millions of people enjoy our nation’s precious public lands each year,” he said Home Secretary Deb Haaland. “Together with President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, the Great American Outdoors Act is making important investments, funding much-needed repairs and improvements, and creating high-paying jobs and economic opportunity in communities across the country.”
Details of Interior’s fiscal 2023 project funding and distribution are available on the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund and Land and Water Conservation Fund websites.
Details of USDA Forest Service project funding and distribution for FY2023 are available on the agency’s Great American Outdoors Act website.
National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund (LRF)
USDA Forest Service and Interior’s FY2023 GAOA-funded deferred maintenance projects are expected to support over 18,700 jobs and generate $2 billion in local communities. The investments will advance the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of creating and better rebuilding high-paying, unionized jobs by meeting critical deferred maintenance needs in America’s national parks, national wildlife refuges, recreation areas, national forests, grasslands and Bureau of Commerce schools Tackling Indian Education.
The 96 USDA Forest Service-planned bundled LRF delayed maintenance projects and 63 Interior-planned projects will improve recreation facilities, water and utility infrastructure, schools and other historic structures. Other projects aim to improve visitor access by restoring and repairing roads, paths, bridges and parking lots.
In fiscal year 2020, Interior Authorities estimated they hosted approximately 378 million visits to national parks, national wildlife refuges and hatcheries, recreation areas and Bureau of Reclamation sites. For fiscal 2020, Interior’s Office of Policy Analysis estimated that Interior’s rural recovery contributed approximately $26.1 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product and supported approximately 347,000 jobs. In 2020, the national forest lands received more than 168 million visits, supported approximately 161,000 jobs and contributed $13.5 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product.
The investments included in the LRF’s budget proposal will allow Interior and USDA Forest Service to address a total of more than $1.8 billion in deferred maintenance backlog across the country and support the overall portfolio of infrastructure investments.
Combined with previous years, LRF funding for fiscal 2023 will allow the two agencies to complete delayed maintenance projects in all 50 states and several U.S. territories.
Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
The LWCF program has a long and important legacy and continues to protect unique and important endangered natural and cultural resources, strengthen the resilience and biodiversity of our lands, waters and ecosystems to the impacts of climate change, improve access to outdoor recreation, and have strong engagements Supporting local partnerships and delivering benefits to a broad audience that includes underserved or vulnerable communities.
The FY2023 budget provides $900 million for LWCF projects and programs managed by the Department of the Interior and the USDA Forest Service. This includes $418.7 million for federal land acquisition programs and projects and $481.3 million for state and local grants. These investments will provide recreational opportunities across America, protect important natural and heritage sites on public lands, and support locally driven conservation and outdoor recreation projects through state and local government grants.
In fiscal 2023, Interior will allocate $681.9 million to LWCF programs, including $294.8 million to state land acquisition projects and programs. Interior’s LWCF land acquisition projects acquire critical lands or easements from willing sellers to protect endangered natural, cultural or historical resources, including critical habitats and migration corridors, and to improve access to outdoor recreational activities. The USDA Forest Service will invest $94 million to fund 15 Forest Legacy Program projects and $124 million to fund 15 Land Acquisition Program projects, including projects for recreation access and other needs. Interior will invest more than $148 million to fund 47 projects in up to 35 states across the country, in addition to smaller recreational area access projects.
Interior proposes an additional $387 million to support state and local conservation and recreation grants, including state LWCF Formula grants and Competitive Outdoor Recreation Legacy Program grants. Interior estimates that an additional $125.2 million will be available for federal LWCF formula grants through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act.
Funding approved by the GAOA is subject to a 5.7% sequestration reduction that will become available for commitments over the next year.
The USDA touches the lives of all Americans in so many positive ways every day. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the American food system with a stronger focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, and building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers who adopt climate-friendly food and forestry practices, make historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in rural America, and advocate for justice across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce , which is more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.