Colorado River.
Rafters on the Colorado River. © Erika Nortemann/The Nature Conservancy


Senate Votes to Renew Land and Water Conservation Fund

Public Lands Package Includes Permanent Reauthorization of 54-Year-Old Program

Arlington, Va.


July 22, 2020: 
Congress has approved the Great American Outdoors Act.

The U.S. Senate today passed a sweeping package of public lands bills, including a measure to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which expired last September. The package also includes many other wins for the conservation of our natural resources, including provisions to protect thousands of acres of wilderness and support endangered species’ recovery in the Colorado River. The following is a statement by Kameran Onley, director of U.S. Government Relations at The Nature Conservancy:

“Today’s vote is a big step toward ending the cycle of uncertainty that has plagued America’s best conservation program. The overwhelming vote in favor of reauthorization reflects the Land and Water Conservation Fund’s long track record of success and broad support from lawmakers, landowners, conservation organizations and state and local officials.

“For more than half a century, LWCF has balanced the use of one public resource, oil and gas drilling revenues, by conserving others. At no cost to the taxpayer, LWCF has helped expand national parks, preserve pristine landscapes, and create trails and athletic fields across the country. But the program has faced significant challenges from the instability that comes with expiring twice in three years, making it harder to carry out the long-term planning landowners depend on to conserve their lands and waters.  

“Thanks to the incredible effort by LWCF’s champions both in this Congress and the last, the Senate made reauthorization and the broader public lands package one of its top priorities for the year. We hope the House of Representatives will continue that momentum and move quickly to approve this package so we can continue to conserve our country’s most valued places.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.