Breaking: The Senate just passed the Natural Resources Management Act (S.47) 92-8. This years-in-the-making bill will protect 2.5 million acres of public land, 676 river miles, and permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The House is expected to pass the bill within the coming weeks, then send it to President Trump for his signature.
Click here to urge your representative to move this bill across the finish line.
Late last year lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together to create the Natural Resources Management Act – a bipartisan bill combining dozens of public lands provisions. One Senator killed the bill’s chances in December, during the final hours of the 115th Congress, and the government shutdown has prevented it from moving this year, until now.
The public lands package will push eight Conservation Alliance priorities across the finish line, protecting more than two million acres of wild places, preserving 396 miles of river, and reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The Conservation Alliance has awarded a combined $1,028,000 in grants to grassroots conservation organizations, and has dedicated countless hours of advocacy over the course of a dozen years to secure permanent protections for the special wild places included in this legislation. Included in the bill are the following Conservation Alliance priorities:
- Permanent Reauthorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). LWCF provides funds and matching grants to federal, state, and local governments to acquire lands and waters for recreation and habitat. For more than 50 years, LWCF has supported recreation and conservation in nearly every county in the country.
- Emery County Public Land Management Act. Protects 972,335 acres of public land in Emery County Utah, covering most of the iconic San Rafael Swell and protecting 63 miles of the Green River as Wild and Scenic.
- California Desert Protection and Recreation Act. Protects 278,230 acres of Wilderness, expands Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks, designates of 77 miles of new Wild and Scenic Rivers in the California Desert, and creates the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area.
- Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act. Protects 30,000 acres of National Forest Lands adjacent to the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness and Yellowstone National park from industrial scale gold mining. The passage of this bill makes permanent the 20-year mining prohibition, otherwise known as a mineral withdrawal, that outgoing Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed in early October.
- Oregon Wildlands Act. Protects 30,000 acres of the Devil’s Staircase area as Wilderness, designates 252 miles of wild and scenic rivers in the Rogue and Molalla River watersheds, and protects the Chetco River from mining activity.
- Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Special Management Area Protection Act. Protects 99,653 acres in Oregon’s North Umpqua River watershed as a sanctuary for some of the best wild steelhead spawning areas in the Pacific Northwest. The area provides more than 50 miles of high-quality river and stream habitat for summer and winter steelhead, chinook and coho salmon, rainbow trout, and other native species.
- Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act. Protects 241,067 acres of by creating eight new Wilderness areas within the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.
- Methow Headwaters Protection Act. Protects 340,079 acres within the Methow Valley’s Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest from any mining activity.
HELP THE LANDS PACKAGE CROSS THE FINISH LINE
The fate of the Natural Resources Management Act now rests in the hands of the House of Representatives. While it is expected to pass the House, representatives need to be reminded this bill is important to their constituents. We’ve made it easy for you to send a note in support of the lands package to your representative. Click here to take action ASAP.
Public lands protections of this magnitude don’t come along often. We haven’t see public lands conservation and recreation success on this scale since the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009, which protected nearly three million acres and 1,000 river miles. Please help ensure that our ten years of funding, advocacy, and grassroots organizing pay off!
To our Wild Places!