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About the Fund
The 1965 LWCF Act
Forest Service Contacts for LWCF

USDA Forest Service,
Lands and Realty Staff

1400 Independence Ave., SW
Mailstop 1124
Washington, DC 20250-1124
Phone: (202) 205-1248

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The Great American Outdoors Act and the Land and Water Conservation Fund

On this page you can learn about the LWCF Fund, request to nominate a project, and access the LWCF Map Viewer

The Great American Outdoors Act and Your National Forests

Enacted in 2020, the Great American Outdoors Act provides permanent and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, thereby increasing funding for the Forest Service's LWCF land acquisition program. This investment will improve public access by funding strategic land acquisitions, support locally-led conservation efforts and protect our natural heritage. It will also create jobs, expand access to the outdoors, and help address climate change through protecting natural resources.

Image of Dakota Prarie National Grasslands in North Dakota.Created by Congress in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) provides money to federal, state and local governments to purchase land, water and wetlands for the the benefit of all Americans. From majestic forests and snowcapped mountains, to wild rivers and stunning beaches, these acquisitions become part of your national forests. Lands and waters purchased through the LWCF are used to:
  • Provide recreational opportunities
  • Provide clean water
  • Preserve wildlife habitat
  • Enhance scenic vistas
  • Address climate change
  • Protect archaeological and historical sites
  • Maintain the pristine nature of wilderness areas

Image of Etowah watershed in Georgia.Land is bought from landowners at fair-market value (unless the owner chooses to offer the land as a donation or at a bargain price).

The Fund receives money mostly from fees paid by companies drilling offshore for oil and gas. Other funding sources include the sale of surplus federal real estate and taxes on motorboat fuel.

Fiscal Year 2022 Proposed National Forest System Land Acquisition Projects

The Fiscal Year 2022 Land and Water Conservation Fund Proposed Acquisition List was released as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 President's Budget on May 28, 2021.

Request for "Core" LWCF Project Nominations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 LWCF – Due October 22, 2021

Land acquisition project proposals for the National Forest System go through a competitive two-stage evaluation using the LWCF Core Criteria and Guidance. Proposals are first evaluated at a Regional level using the LWCF Land Acquisition Proposal Criteria and Guidance, then top ranked projects from each Region are forwarded to the Washington office where a national panel evaluates proposals from across the country. The national panel is comprised of an inter-disciplinary team of Washington Office, Regional and Field representatives who use the Criteria and Guidance to evaluate the proposals and then meet to finalize a prioritized list of land acquisition project proposals. Links to the Fiscal Year 2023 call for proposals, the due date for nominations, and the Core Criteria and Guidance, as well as the forms necessary to submit a land acquisition project proposal, are posted below.

LWCF 2020 Core Nomination Package Training Recordings.

Two training sessions were held for the 2020 LWCF core nomination packages. The trainings were held on April 18 and May 24, 2018. These two recordings are approximately 1.5 hours in length, and are available for viewing by Forest Service employees, partners, and the public. Please refer to these for your 2021 nominations.

USDA Forest Service
Last modified: Wednesday, 22-Sep-2021 13:28:14 CDT

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