WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Reps. James R. Langevin and David N. Cicilline announced Tuesday that Rhode Island will receive $432,696 in federal funding under the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
LWCF funding is matched by the state and may be used for acquisition, construction or renovation of recreational sites. The goal of the funding is create more public outdoor recreation opportunities in Rhode Island.
The funds will be administered by the R.I. Department of Environmental Management through a competitive process that will begin in the fall. Members of the community will have the opportunity to submit applications, which the DEM will then evaluate to determine which projects will receive funding.
In the past four decades, Rhode Island has received approximately $62 million to protect natural treasures such as Roger Williams National Memorial, Great Salt Pond National Wildlife Refuge and East Matunuck State Beach, according to a release from Reed’s office.
In addition to preserving the natural beauty of the Ocean State, LWCF funding also boosts the local economy, the release said. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation contributes $2.4 billion annually in consumer spending to Rhode Island’s economy, including gear, vehicles, travel-related expenses and more. Outdoor recreation also generates more than 24,000 direct jobs within the state.
“We have a responsibility to preserve and care for our environment for present and future generations,” said Langevin in a statement. “In Rhode Island, we are fortunate to have abundant natural resources and open spaces that add to our quality of life and benefit our economy. I look forward to continuing to support this funding, which has bolstered these conservation efforts.”
LWCF is primarily funded by federal offshore oil and gas lease revenue, and is not supported by taxpayer dollars. Since it was established by Congress in 1965, LWCF has supported more than 41,000 state and local park projects.