LWCF Frequently Asked Questions
What is LWCF?
The LWCF program was established by the LWCF Act of 1965. Federal funds are appropriated by Congress through the Department of Interior and administered on the federal level by National Park Service (NPS) and on the state level by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Outdoor Recreation Grants division.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) program was established to stimulate a nationwide action program to assist in preserving, developing, and assuring to all citizens of the United States, of present and future generations, such quality and quantity of outdoor recreation resources as may be available. The program provides matching grants to States, and through the States to local units of government, for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation sites and facilities. Funding for the program is provided largely from Outer Continental Shelf mineral receipts, with additional income from the Motorboat Fuels Tax, recreation user fees, and through the sales of federal surplus property. Federal LWCF obligations have been matched by state and local contributions, for a total recreation investment of over $6 billion dollars.
How are Projects Funded?
The LWCF program requires a fifty percent match by the project sponsor. This match can include cash, in-kind services, and donations of land/material/services.
The composition of the sponsor's matching share must be approved by the ORG staff. Only costs and donations incurred during the project period are eligible for reimbursement. The appraised value of land donated for the project area can be used as all or part of the matching share for development.
Title to a donation of or "fee simple purchase" of park land cannot be transferred to the sponsor prior to project approval by National Park Service.
Who is Eligible?
Any political jurisdiction of the state, such as a city or county, and selected state agencies, being sole owners and holding deed to the proposed acreage, who are interested in acquiring and developing a public park and recreation area may apply for a LWCF grant. Individuals may not apply.
What can be Funded?
In order for an application to be considered, it must be a viable project (i.e., ballfield, soccer field, splash park, etc.). Applications for support facilities only, do not qualify. It can be a combination of both.
Acquisition - Acquisition only projects can be submitted, but will be ranked low in the ratings. According to NPS guidelines, land that is acquired must be developed.
Development - Physical facilities such as sports and play fields, tennis courts, picnic facilities, etc.
Acquisition/Development - Land acquired by donation or negotiated purchase followed by development of facilities on that land.
How are Grants Obtained?
Once each year the states are notified if money is appropriated. At that time, Mayors, Presidents of the Board of Supervisors, and state agencies are notified of the appropriation and are invited to submit an application. After the application and documentation have been received, the project is ranked according to the Open Project Selection Process (OSPS) as identified in the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). Applicants will be notified when the ranking process is complete.