Return on Investment from the Land and Water Conservation Fund

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was first established by Congress in 1965 and reauthorized in subsequent years. The Act designates that a portion of receipts from offshore oil and gas leases be placed into a fund annually for land conservation and recreation.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) conducted an analysis of the return on the investment of LWCF dollars for federal land acquisition by the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Park Service for a sample of sixteen federal units that received LWCF funding between 1998 and 2009. TPL analyzed the past (i.e., 1998 to 2009) and likely future (i.e., over the next ten years) economic returns generated from LWCF spending on the sample federal units and found that every $1 invested returns $4 in economic value over this time period from natural resource goods and services alone. In addition to providing natural goods and services, these federal lands are key to local recreation and tourism industries. TPL found that approximately 10.6 million people visit these sixteen federal units each year and spend $511 million in the surrounding local communities.



Related Files

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