Senator Donnelly, Conservation Groups & Community Members Call for Reauthorization of Land and Water Conservation Fund

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has been used to support nearly 70 projects in the nine-county Indy region, expires September 30th barring Congressional action

Carmel, Ind. – This afternoon, at Flowing Well Park in Carmel, U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly along with conservation advocacy groups and community members joined together to call on Congress to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Unless Congress acts by September 30th, 2018, the LWCF will expire. The LWCF, established in 1964 and primarily financed by revenues generated from energy production on federal lands, is a principal source of federal land conservation and provides grants to state and local governments to support park, recreation, and conservation projects. The program has significant bipartisan support in Congress. For more information on the LWCF, see here.

In the nine-county Indy region, LWCF grants have been used to support nearly 70 projects totaling more than $10 million, including nearly 30 projects in Marion and Hamilton Counties. To see a list of those projects from Boone, Hamilton, Madison, Hendricks, Marion, Hancock, Morgan, Johnson, and Shelby Counties, see here.  Around the state, LWCF has invested in places ranging from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to the Hoosier National Forest. Nationally, LWCF has helped preserve and enhance landscapes such as the Grand Canyon and Great Smoky Mountains.

Donnelly said, “Preserving Indiana’s natural beauty for future generations of Hoosiers is not a partisan issue. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a commonsense program that uses revenues from energy production on public lands to help communities across our state and the country protect public lands for us all to enjoy. I will continue working with my colleagues in the Senate on bipartisan efforts to reauthorize this important program.”

LWCF Event

Donnelly, along with conservation group leaders and supporters of the LWCF, at Flowing Well Park in Carmel today calling for the reauthorization of the LWCF. For more and higher-quality photos, click here.

Alex Taurel, Conservation Program Director at the League of Conservation Voters, said, “For more than 50 years the Land and Water Conservation Fund has been creating parks and boosting outdoor recreation opportunities that enhance quality of life for Hoosier families and businesses. We appreciate Senator Donnelly supporting full funding and a permanent extension of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and urge him to keep fighting for parks and thriving communities across Indiana. We need Congress to take up this legislation and save America’s best parks program before it expires on September 30.”

Catherine Nagel, Executive Director of City Parks Alliance, said, “Parks play a vital role in the social, economic and physical well-being of America's cities and their residents. LWCF funding is an essential investment in cities as they seek to develop new or revitalize existing urban parks, green spaces, and recreation opportunities."

Hannah Kaufman Joseph,  Carmel resident and mom said, “The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a one of a kind, bi-partisan program that works on both a national, state and local level to give our communities valuable recreation spaces.  I applaud Senator Donnelly’s support of this legislation, which I hope will continue to help create public parks for my family to enjoy for years to come. My family frequently visits parks and recreation spaces that were created with the help of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  We love paddle boarding at Eagle Creek, going to birthday parties at Cool Creek Nature Center, or getting water at Flowing Well Park.  We are so grateful that Senator Donnelly supports the reauthorization of this legislation, which is a vital asset to our local community.”

Josh Freedman, Owner of Pedego Carmel said, “As owners of a local small business, Pedego Carmel Electric Bikes, we depend on the creation and protection of public parks and recreation spaces.  We chose to live, raise our family, work, and own our business in Carmel largely because of the wealth of public parks where our customers can ride the electric bikes we sell and rent.   The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a crucial reason so many of those parks exist in our community.”

Donnelly has cosponsored the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act, which would permanently reauthorize LWCF and provide full funding for the program.