In Fiscal Year 2024, the BIA requested $12 million in discretionary unobligated LWCF funds for the creation of a new Tribal LWCF land acquisition program. Congress currently allocates LWCF funding to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service (NPS), the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), the U.S. Forest Service, and State and local governments. The BIA’s Fiscal Year 2024 request supports acquisition of lands, waters, and interests therein for the purpose of protecting and conserving natural resource areas that may also be of cultural importance to Tribes and Alaska Natives or have recreational benefits for Tribal communities and Alaska Native Villages. The LWCF Tribal land acquisition program will thereby increase the amount of land for stewardship and other uses deemed beneficial by Tribes and Alaska Natives, consistent with purposes of the LWCF.
The BLM, NPS, and FWS currently use LWCF funding to support Federal land acquisition from willing sellers, and each agency has a defined project selection process and criteria. The BIA will develop its own process and criteria for allocating Tribal LWCF land acquisition funding in a manner which advances the BIA’s mission and goals and maximizes opportunity to Tribes and Alaska Natives.
We are seeking your input as we develop a BIA-specific process and criteria which meet statutory LWCF requirements while facilitating Tribal land acquisition efforts to the greatest extent practicable.
We welcome your written comments, which should be submitted by email to email@example.com by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on October 5, 2023.