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LWCF Grants

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LWCF Grants


The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has historically been a primary funding source of the U.S. Department of the Interior for outdoor recreation development and land acquisition by local governments and state agencies. In North Carolina, the program is administered by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Since 1965, the LWCF program has built a permanent park legacy for present and future generations. In North Carolina alone, the LWCF program has provided more than $75 million in matching grants to protect land and support more than 875 state and local park projects. More than 38,500 acres have been acquired with LWCF assistance to establish a park legacy in our state.

On these pages, you can find out more about the federal grant program including a review of the application process, project eligibility and how grant recipients are selected. You can also learn about the LWCF Review Committee and how to contact us.

A Brief Summary

The fund was established in 1964 by Congress to create parks and open space, protect wilderness, wetlands, and refuges, preserve habitat and enhance outdoor recreational opportunities. The fund is principally supported through receipts from oil and gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf. In most years, Congress makes an LWCF appropriation to each state. States receive individual allocations of LWCF grant funds based on a national formula, with state population being the most influential factor.

The National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, administers the program on behalf of the federal government. Authority for the program at the state level is vested in the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the State Liaison Officer (SLO) appointed by the Governor.

To be eligible for LWCF assistance, every state must prepare and regularly update a statewide comprehensive outdoor recreation plan (SCORP). The SCORP includes inventories or assessments of current recreation resources (local, state and federal) within a state, identifies needs and new opportunities for outdoor recreation improvements and sets forth a five-year action agenda to meet the goals identified by its citizens and elected leaders.

Historically, North Carolina's LWCF annual allocation has been split 60/40 between local governments and state agencies.

More information from the federal LWCF grant program:

Responsibilities of the State Liaison Officer and LWCF Staff

The state liaison officer (SLO) shall annually review the LWCF allocation in consultation and with advice from the LWCF Staff. The SLO shall determine the minimum and maximum amount of grant awards for state agency and local government projects.

During each funding cycle, the LWCF Staff will review the evaluations of each application submitted, consider the ranking of the projects and recommend a list of projects to the SLO for funding. The SLO recommends the list of projects to the National Park Service for final review and funding.