Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
The Department of the Interior (DOI), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has issued a Dear Tribal Leader Letter announcing Tribal consultations on Tribal Land acquisition funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). In 2020, the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law and authorized $900 million annually in permanent funding for the LWCF. DOI’s Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service currently use this LWCF funding to support federal land acquisition from willing sellers, with each agency having a defined project selection process and criteria. For Fiscal Year 2024 (FY 2024), the BIA has requested $12 million in discretionary unobligated LWCF funds for the creation of a new Tribal LWCF land acquisition program. The BIA’s FY 2024 request will support acquisition of lands, waters, and interests therein to protect and conserve natural resource areas that may also have cultural importance to Tribal Nations or have recreational benefits for Tribal communities. BIA is planning to develop its own process and criteria for allocating Tribal LWCF land acquisition funding to maximize opportunities for Tribal Nations. This would not establish a separate, stand-alone LWCF specifically for Tribal Nations, but rather establish criteria for a program to allocate current LWCF funds to support Tribal Nation land acquisition for conservation purposes.
Details regarding the upcoming Tribal consultations are as follows—
Date/Time: Tuesday, September 26, 2023 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm ET
Date/Time: Wednesday, September 27, 2023 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm ET
Date/Time: Thursday, September 28, 2023 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm ET
For more information on the Tribal LWCF land acquisition program consultations, please view the Dear Tribal Leader Letter. To view a list of proposed criteria for the LWCF land acquisition program, please click here. Comments in response to the consultations and proposed criteria are due by 11:59pm ET on October 5, 2023 and can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions should be directed to Trina Locke, Acting Deputy Bureau Director, Trust Services, at email@example.com, or Lorna Babby, Division Chief, Trust Land Consolidation, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please contact Brian Howard, USET SPF Senior Policy Analyst, at email@example.com.