DOI Takes Action to Implement the Greatest Conservation Funding Law in US History

DOI Takes Action to Implement the Greatest Conservation Funding Law in US History

Nearly $20 billion to be invested over the next 10 years

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt established the Great American Outdoors Act Coordination and Implementation Task Force to implement the Department of the Interior’s portion of the Great American Outdoors Act, which was signed into law by President Donald J. Trump last week. The law will help address the historically underfunded, multi-billion-dollar deferred maintenance backlog at our national parks and public lands in addition to funding new public access projects across the country. $9.5 billion over the next five years will be dedicated to tackling deferred maintenance needs, and $900 million per year into perpetuity will be invested from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for new conservation and recreation opportunities.

“President Trump’s actions to pass this conservation law are historic,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “I’ve established a task force to maximize the impact of the Great American Outdoors Act and determine priority funding needs, so we can expeditiously serve the American public in rebuilding their national parks, American Indian schools and public lands.”

Secretary Bernhardt signed Secretary’s Order 3383 establishing the task force, which shall:

Develop a strategy to maximize the impact of the Great American Outdoors Act. The strategy shall ensure a timely project proposal and review process that minimizes delay and ensures decisive action; cuts across Bureaus; and includes establishment and utilization of a centralized project management office.

Identify an initial list of priority deferred maintenance projects that are ready to be implemented in Fiscal Year 2021 and provide the list to the Secretary of the Interior within 50 days of the date of this Order.

Evaluate staffing needs and direct relevant Bureaus/Offices to initiate necessary hiring and recruitment efforts.

Identify additional policies and/or revisions to existing policies or practices that are needed to maximize successful implementation of the Great American Outdoors Act.

Develop best management practices for deferred maintenance projects; and

Recommend such other actions as may be necessary to fulfill the goals of this Order.

The Task Force will work with other Federal agencies and Tribes to effectively implement the Act.

The Order is available online.

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Don McDowell, Arizona native, is an avid outdoorsman and has been an active bass pro fisherman for over 16 years and in the past 15 years has developed his own radio show promoting bass fishing and conservation efforts for bass fishing that escalated to nominations with several bass groups and organizations. In the past 12 years, Don has pursued his conservation agenda through AZBFN-TBF as Conservation Director and with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, in the spring of 2014 redesigned his website to include those efforts highlighted below and has increased the AZGFD exposure, public education of the AZGFD and Commission issues on his radio show and website soliciting local and national support for Arizona. 2014 has seen the founding of SRT Outdoors, Inc., 501 C3 organization, “Not for Profit, for Conservation” which is concentrating on grants for mitigating the effects of Gizzard Shad on Roosevelt lake thorough habitat enhancement, Florida Strain Bass stocking, lakes bottom mapping, etc. and feral hog research.

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