Outdoor Recreation Idea of the Day, December 15, 2010

What Works: Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program

December 15, 2010 (Washington, DC) - The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) was established in 2002 and reauthorized in 2009. It provides matching grants to state and local governments to protect lands with significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical and/or aesthetic values which are threatened by conversion. Priority is given to projects which can be effectively managed and protected and which use leveraged funds.

Since 2002, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which administers the program, has awarded more than $230 million for projects in 27 of the 34 eligible states, protecting more than 50,000 acres. More information on the project is here.

This program is noteworthy for several reasons. First, states need to nominate projects and relate them to their state Coastal Zone Management Program and related plans. Second, each project needs to demonstrate need, secured matching funds and landowner willingness to sell. Third, the projects are reviewed and ranked by teams of public and private sector experts independent of NOAA's analysis. And finally, the prioritized list is presented to the Congress, which then appropriates money annually for the projects -- and the Congress determines how far down the prioritized list they will reach with its funding level. No pork-barrel or earmarking -- the projects are funded according to the reviewers' priorities.

Good example of a strategic use of federal dollars to boost conservation!

Idea of the Day is inspired by the President's America's Great Outdoors Initiative to connect Americans to the outdoors and its IdeaJam blog. ARC’s submissions to the blog can be found if you click here. Additional ideas that have been submitted to IdeaJam can be found in our September 2010 newsletter, which is here.