Land and Water Conservation Fund

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed landmark legislation Tuesday to expand recreation access and conserve public lands nationwide. Passage of the Natural Resources Act stood out not just because it tackled a big challenge — the permanent authorization of the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund — but also because of the strength of bipartisan support that propelled the omnibus package beyond the politics of division.

On Thursday, Democrats take back control of the House. Among several priorities is reviving a popular bipartisan conservation program that’s been dead for months.

The Federal Duck Stamp Program is for the birds, at least when it comes to birdwatchers.

Since 1964 the Land and Water Conservation Fund has used royalties from oil and gas leasing to protect natural areas, water resources and cultural heritage, as well as to provide recreation opportunities. The Fund expired at the end of September, but both the House and Senate have proposed bills to permanently reauthorize it so its future doesn't remain in jeopardy.

An important but little-known public lands fund expired this weekend. 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) may be the most successful, and little-known, conservation program. That obscurity could contribute to it's downfall.