The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Program is a federal program authorized by Congress for the purpose of acquiring federal lands and assisting states and local governments with funds to acquire lands and develop and renovate outdoor recreation facilities. LWCF funds are appropriated by Congress to the U. S. Department of the Interior, National Parks Service (NPS), and NPS allocates the funds through state agencies as a grant program to state and local governments.
The LWCF Program, first authorized in 1965, has resulted in Georgia receiving over $105 million in matching funds. Funding for the program during the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s was in short supply and in the late 1990s there were no appropriations. Through the efforts of many dedicated individuals and organizations throughout Georgia and the nation, the trend was reversed. Georgia received $5.6 million for federal fiscal year 2020 and the new trend is expected to continue.
In order to efficiently administer the grant funds, LWCF is moving to a bi-annual grant cycle. With two years of allocations to award, an estimate of $9 million will be available to local governments.
To ensure that only high caliber projects are awarded grants, DNR reserves the right to set minimum scores. If there is an insufficient number of high-scoring, high caliber projects, DNR may delay grant awards and solicit new grant applications/proposals the following grant cycle.
The LWCF grant program is accepting applications for acquisition of park land, develop of recreation facilities and renovation of existing outdoor recreation facilities from eligible applicants. Eligible applicants are defined as qualified local governments (as determined by the Department of Community Affairs) and constituted recreation authorities/commissions who are in good standing with LWCF. All eligible applicants must complete a pre-application online. Paper applications will not be accepted. Following the competitive pre-application phase, successful applicants will be invited to complete a second-level application.
- LWCF requires a 50% match for all grant request.
- The minimum grant request is $25,000 ($50,000 total project).
- The maximum grant request is $500,000 ($1,000,000 total project).
- Only one application can be submitted for an LWCF project per jurisdiction.
- Applicants may submit pre-applications for both LWCF and the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program, but applications must be for separate projects.
Target Grant Cycle Timeline 2020-2021
September 1, 2020- Cycle opens
October 31, 2020- Cycle closes at 11:59 p.m.
November 2020 - January 2021- Pre-applications reviewed and ranked
February 2021- Announcement of selected applications
May 2021- Second level applications due
June 2021- Second level applications submitted to the National Park Service
Fall 2021- Final approval of project