Celebrating the Great American Outdoors Act
Aug 18, 2020
Signed into law on Thursday, August 4th, 2020, the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for the first time since it was enacted in the 1960s, and creates a new fund to finance deferred maintenance projects at the National Park Service, National Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management.
The preservation of these public lands protects a crucial part of bird health – habitat. The more protected territory they enjoy, the more species will thrive and the more birds we will see in our backyards and feeders!
The conservation legislation, first introduced in the House by the late Rep. John Lewis in March 2019, will also help fix a national parks system that lacked funds to clear a $12 billion maintenance backlog, despite large increases in visitation. The GAOA is expected to create more than 108,000 new jobs to repair park infrastructure, including access roads and bridges in adjacent communities.
In addition, the law also supports funding for the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership to create more parks and playgrounds in urban areas. Expanding access to the outdoors will allow more people to connect with birds and other wildlife in every community.
Land conservation is a natural climate solution that preserves critical bird habitat, protects endangered species and limits the effects of pollution on birds and other wildlife. With this law, bird habitats, like coastal marshes that also protect against storm-water surge and flooding and forests that soak up carbon dioxide, will be preserved.
As both the impacts of climate change and the need for people to rejuvenate outdoors converge, this new law came at a crucial time. We gladly celebrate the protection and appreciation of the great outdoors!