Federal Policy Update

President’s Budget proposal would virtually eliminate critical federal conservation programs. Please contact Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation to voice your concern!

Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
  • The Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget proposal would eviscerate the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), with a 98% overall cut to the program from this year’s enacted level. The proposal would eliminate state grant programs that support land trust projects, local recreation facilities, state parks, working forests, wildlife habitat and other community conservation priorities, leaving states and local communities in the lurch as they pursue an improved quality of life for their citizens.
  • Individual federal agency budget allocations for LWCF funding at our National Parks, National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges and other public lands would be eliminated outright or held so low as to cripple agency efforts, foreclosing any future protection of America’s lands and waters and undercutting efforts to enhance public access to the outdoors for hunting, fishing and a host of other activities that drive a vibrant economy. Popular projects in Wisconsin like the Ice Age Trail which utilize LWCF funds to enhance and develop recreational infrastructure would be set back dramatically.
  • The consequences of gutting one of America’s most important conservation and recreation program to this extent would be far-reaching for land conservation efforts and once-in- a- generation opportunities to secure public access and protect our public lands from private development inside their boundaries would be lost forever.
  • Diversions of LWCF funds in recent years away from conservation and recreation projects has left a backlog of need at the local, state and federal levels.  The Trump budget will exacerbate that beyond all hope.
  • Bipartisan support for LWCF in Congress has been strong and consistent for over half a century.
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and related program cuts
  • The President’s budget also proposes cutting important regional programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) which would face a 90 percent reduction from fiscal year 2017 budget levels. GLRI has a proven track record and helps local communities and fish and wildlife habitat clean up toxic pollution, curb polluted runoff, fight invasive species—a cut of 90 percent would severely undermine future success of the program.
  • A reduction of 34 percent from the 2017 budget levels for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which helps administer Great Lakes restoration and clean water protection programs.
  • A zeroed out budget for Clean Water Act Section 319 programs, which helps communities reduce polluted runoff that leads to toxic algal outbreaks—a reduction of $167 million from the fiscal year 2017 budget levels.