WRC Blog

Land and Water Conservation Fund permanently secured

Mar 12th, 2019  |  Written by Western Rivers Conservancy

Land and Water Conservation Fund permanently secured
Yampa River by Bryan Long

Today is a great day for our rivers, for conservation and for everyone who cherishes our incredible national heritage of public lands.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been permanently reauthorized!

LWCF is one of the most important conservation programs in the country. It is the only source of funding at the federal level dedicated to permanently protecting places and landscapes for all Americans, and to make those places public and accessible to all.

When WRC buys land and then transfers it to a natural resource agency like the U.S. Forest Service or BLM for permanent protection, nine times out of ten we’re using LWCF funds. To put this into concrete terms, here a just a few of the accomplishments and current projects that could never have happened without this program:

John Day River, Oregon
Right now, we’re wrapping up a landmark project with the BLM on the John Day River, creating outstanding new boating access to the lower river at Thirtymile Creek, plus new access to 78,000 of BLM lands along the river. The project will protect over 20,000 acres along 12 miles of the John Day and nine miles of Thirtymile Creek.

Smith River, California
In 2005 and 2006 we transferred 9,500 acres to the Six Rivers National Forest, permanently conserving the entirety of Goose Creek, the largest tributary to the South Fork Smith and Smith rivers. The Smith is the finest river ecosystem in all of California and a crown jewel of the wild and scenic river system—and Goose Creek is its lifeline.

Yampa River, Colorado
When WRC transferred Cross Mountain Canyon Ranch to the BLM in 2012, we opened new recreational access to 88,000 acres of public lands on the eastern side of the Cross Mountain Wilderness Study Area. Our effort protected 2.5 miles of the Yampa River at the very entrance to Cross Mountain Canyon.

Hoh River, Washington
On Washington’s revered Hoh River, WRC purchased and protected all the industrial owned timberland between Mount Olympus National Park and the Pacific. Our partners were the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Hoh River Trust. All of that land, including Schmidt Bar and Nolan Creek Bar are now protected and open to the public, free of charge.

Salmon River, Idaho
In the headwaters of the Salmon and Middle Fork Salmon rivers, WRC is partnering with the U.S. Forest Service and willing landowners to acquire properties and their associated water rights, and then working with the State of Idaho to dedicate that water in-stream. This will make a dramatic difference for spawning and rearing salmon and steelhead returning to their natal streams.

East Verde River, Arizona
Near Payson, WRC is on the cusp of wrapping up a project that will permanently secure recreational access into the vast Mazatzal Wilderness and the surrounding Tonto National Forest. In the process we’re conserving a mile of the East Verde River, the most in-tact tributary to the Verde River.

Thanks to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and your ongoing support, WRC has been able to conserve over 167,000 acres along more than 170 rivers and streams across the West. With the permanent reauthorization of LWCF, we can carry this legacy into the future, protecting more great western rivers—and ensuring they stay open to all.