Do you know which fifteen key US States have been selected for wildlife habitate preservation? The Obama administration is using over $40m captured from offshore oil and gas company revenues to preserve 27 wilderness areas to preserve clean water, protect historic areas and protect local wildlife.
Funded projects would protect what Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack calls “nationally significant” lands in: Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.
“In keeping with the Obama administration’s America’s Great Outdoors conservation initiative, USDA is committed to conserving and restoring our forests and bringing jobs to rural America,” said Vilsack. “Through our partnerships with states, communities, tribes and others, it is vital that we step up our efforts to safeguard our country’s natural resources.”
The money is made available through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, created by Congress in 1964 to provide funding to federal, state and local governments to purchase land, water and wetlands. The fund receives most of its money through royalty payments from offshore oil and gas revenues to mitigate the environmental impacts of those activities.
Lands are purchased from willing sellers at fair-market value or through partial or outright donations of property. Landowners may also sell or donate easements on their property that restrict commercial development while keeping the land in private ownership.
“The pristine wildernesses, flowing waters and majestic vistas help define what makes this country great,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “These projects will help ensure a long future of quality open space for those hunters and anglers, hikers, campers and other nature lovers who enjoy America’s great outdoors. The funding will also reduce administrative costs and provide us increased flexibility in how we restore lands across the country.”
The fund supports goals set out in President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, including the need to support locally-led efforts to protect and renew rivers and other waters; conserve and restore national parks, wildlife refuges and other federal lands and waters; and enhance recreational access and opportunities.
Source: Environment News Service