The National Wildlife Federation

LWCF FL Sportsmen Letter Sept 2018

 

Florida sportsmen and women support full funding and permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund

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September, 17 2018

The Honorable Bill Nelson
716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Marco Rubio
284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Vern Buchanan
2104 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Brian Mast
2182 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Carlos Curbelo
1404 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
2206 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515


Re: Support and Fully Fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund which will expire on September 30th, 2018.

Dear Honorable Members of the Florida Congressional Delegation:

As hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists, we write to urge you to permanently reauthorize and provide full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

With a focus on creating opportunities for outdoor recreation and a strong history of bipartisan support, LWCF is one of America’s most successful conservation programs. It is hard to imagine what America would be like without the benefits of this program over the last five decades and it is hard to imagine what the country will be like for future generations if Congress fails to reauthorize it. Quite simply, LWCF has made our country a better for wildlife and better for our families.

Here at home, LWCF has provided approximately $1 billion to protecting places like Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Ding Darling and St. Marks National Wildlife Refuges and Canaveral National Seashore. Funds LWCF funds were also allocated to supportalso supported state and local parks including Cape Florida State Recreation Area, Caspersen Beach and Paynes Prairie State Preserve. Through the Forest Legacy Program, LWCF helps support local jobs and sustainable forest operations while also enhancing wildlife habitat, water quality and recreation.

LWCF is personal to all of uswe sportsmen and women who have spent years fishing and hunting on our nation’s public lands. LWCF has been critical in restoring our state’s healthy forests, watersheds and fisheries as well as preserving essential wildlife habitat and corridors for various Florida species including alligator, deer, black bear, panthers as well as a wide variety of native birds and fish. Additionally, many LWCF projects throughout Florida have given Floridians greater access to both salt and freshwater fishing opportunities and have built fishing piers and boat launch facilities utilized by both inshore and offshore anglers. Through projects aimed at providing and improving access to public lands and waterways, LWCF has played a vital role in creating greater hunting and fishing opportunities for generations of Americans.

All of these important projects have been implemented without any cost to we, the taxpayers, since LWCF funds come from offshore oil and gas revenues. Over fifty years ago, LWCF was created by Congress as a bipartisan promise seeking to offset environmental impacts by providing the public with increased opportunities for outdoor recreation intended to strengthen the health of all Americans. All 50 states have benefited from LWCF which has been used to expand conservation and recreation from urban centers to the most rural parts of our country.

Unfortunately, LWCF is set to expire September 30, 2018. Further, over the history of the program much of the money authorized for conservation and outdoor recreation was diverted elsewhere, resulting in chronic underfunding of LWCF. This shouldn’t be the case. Accordingly, we are asking Congress to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund and commit to fully funding it at the appropriate level of $900 million annually.

As sportsmen and women who continue to visit and use our forests, parks, and wildlife areas, we ask you to exercise your leadership by reauthorizing and dedicating full funding to LWCF so these opportunities will continue to be expanded for future generations.

Thank you for your consideration and for your leadership,

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