Over the past several years, we’ve seen historic policy advances that show how far we’ve come in making conservation and climate action central and urgent policy issues in the United States.
In just the past few years, Congress has passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). Together, these bills provide hundreds of billions of dollars in investments and tax incentives to protect people and the planet. The funding is already being used to accelerate clean energy, increase community resilience and support on-the-ground conservation efforts.
But the actions we take in this decade will significantly influence our ability to slow species and habitat loss and put us firmly on a path to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the level scientists agree will avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
To achieve these goals, Congress must preserve and build on recently enacted legislation to ensure the full return on these investments.
Climate and Conservation Policies for the Win
The IIJA provides billions for over 100 new climate, energy and environmental projects including conservation and natural infrastructure work
Billions from the IRA will go towards increasing clean energy and climate investments and tax incentives over the next 10 years
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) provides over $2B a year to help conserve our natural areas and support public lands maintenance
How Federal Funding Supports our Work in the Field
TNC helps get federal legislation passed and provides guidance to ensure funding is well-spent. We are also the recipients of some of the funding, which we use to work with our partners across the country.
Improving Coastal Restoration and Resilience
In April 2023, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded more than $55 million from the IIJA to TNC and our partners to support conservation and restoration projects in Alabama, California, Ohio, South Carolina, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington. Learn more about this announcement
Leveraging the Power of Nature
TNC transferred over 9,000 acres of its Medano Zapata Ranch Preserve in Colorado’s San Luis Valley to the National Park Service for inclusion in Great Sand Dunes National Park, a transfer made possible through funding provided by the LWCF. Read more about the transfer of Medano Zapata Ranch Preserve
Resilient, Safer Communities
In Washington’s Puget Sound, the IIJA is helping restore estuaries, rebuild the Chinook salmon habitat and improve coastal resilience for local communities on a combined 400 acres of TNC Port Susan Bay Preserve and Stillaguamish Tribe zis a ba II project lands. Learn more about our work in the Puget Sound
TNC is first in the nation for the number of public-private partnerships it leads through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). USDA programs like RCPP help farmers voluntarily adopt climate-smart practices, and these programs received nearly $20 billion in total through the IRA. Learn how other federal legislation like the Farm Bill incentivizes climate-smart practices.
Protecting Coasts and Culture
South Carolinian Tia Clark is bringing national attention to the state's coastline through her business "Casual Crabbing with Tia". Federal Investments through legislation including the IIJA are helping ensure these pristine coastlines are protected for years to come.
Restoring Sandusky Bay for Fish and People
John Buehler's commercial fishing business has endured increasingly severe and frequent storms and toxic algae blooms in recent years that have impacted his ability to operate on Lake Erie. Now, new federal funding from the IIJA is boosting TNC efforts to restore Sandusky Bay's habitats and fisheries to its former glory.
With the twin challenges of climate change and species loss, now is the time to do more, not less. These investments by Congress have put solutions within reach.
What Happens Now? Our Call to Action
The Nature Conservancy urges Congress to:
- Protect these vital programs and incentives from potential cuts, rollbacks or reprogramming
- Expand and support these policies through the budget process and in other legislation, such as the Farm Bill, historically one of the most potent conservation tools.
To unlock the full potential of these policies, Congress should also identify opportunities for reforming the energy permitting process and addressing institutional barriers that have prevented communities from accessing conservation and climate programs in the past.