The clock is winding down until September 30, 2018, which marks the potential expiration date of one of the country’s oldest and most widespread conservation programs. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was established in 1964 as a commitment to protect natural areas and water resources, and to create new recreation opportunities across the country. LWCF uses revenue from offshore oil and gas development to acquire and protect land, including Golden-winged Warbler habitat in North Carolina and the Important Bird Area at Point Reyes National Seashore in California. The fund receives bipartisan support because it has helped conserve land in all 50 states.
Unfortunately, unless new legislation is passed, the program will expire in less than a year. In early October, Audubon members from Washington and North Carolina traveled to Washington, DC to advocate for permanent reauthorization and increased funding for LWCF. Jamie Huson, board member of North Cascades Audubon Society, and Greg Andeck, Director of Strategy & Government Relations at Audubon North Carolina, joined other conservationists, sportsmen, and outdoor recreationists for a full day of meetings with various Senate and House offices from their respective states. They thanked those who have been outspoken champions for LWCF, and shared educational materials with those who have yet to show their support. By taking time out of their schedules to travel to DC, they showed their elected officials that LWCF is a priority issue that deserves to be extended into the future.
With the impending expiration of this important conservation program on the horizon, we have to urge Congress to act in the next 11 months. Although not everybody has the opportunity to travel to the Capitol, you can write to your members or Congress to let them know why LWCF is important to you. With your help, LWCF can remain a critical piece for the acquisition and restoration of natural landscapes that serve as habitat for birds across the country.