Idaho Conservation Projects Outlined In $450M Federal Fund
The $1.1 trillion federal budget bill was signed into law last Friday, avoiding a government shutdown. Three of Idaho’s four congressmen voted against the omnibus bill, which is being characterized as a compromise budget.
In looking closer at the 2,000 page document, one section that applies to Idaho is about the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
Despite some attempts to change what the LWCF would support, Congress renewed it for three years and put $450 million in the program. Some of that money will be used to buy land to be set aside for preservation; in the past it has also gone to projects including the Boise Greenbelt.
Through the Bureau of Land Management, four different places in Idaho were recommended for land acquisition. This includes $3.5 million for the Sands Desert Habitat Management Area in the southeast corner of the state. Craters of the Moon is recommended to get $1.3 million from the conservation fund.
Congressional leaders also gave a nod to the ongoing debate about the greater sage grouse in Idaho and other western states. The bill included a provision preventing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from spending money on an Endangered Species Act listing. This comes despite the Obama Administration’s decision not to list the bird earlier this year.
Follow reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
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