The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service will invest more than $218 million to fund Great American Outdoors Act projects.
Their objective is to conserve critical forest and wetland habitat, support the economic recovery of rural communities and increase public access to national forests and grasslands.
This investment will improve public access by funding strategic land acquisitions. Funds will also support work with state agencies to encourage private forest landowners to protect their land through conservation easements or land purchases.
“These investments reflect President Biden’s commitment to supporting locally-led conservation efforts from coast to coast and to honoring and building on the proud private land stewardship traditions of farmers, ranchers, and forest owners,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The investments will not only protect our natural heritage, but they will also create jobs, expand access to the outdoors, and help tackle climate change.”
The Forest Service administers two Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) programs: The Forest Legacy Program and the Land Acquisition Program. These programs conserve critical and strategic lands across the country’s forests on both private and public lands. The Forest Service will invest more than $94 million to fund 28 projects, one of which is in Georgia.
It protects 12,500 acres of habitat, water and timber on the Ceylon Forest in Georgia. Two and a half million people depend on the Ceylon for drinking water that flows from and through the forest. The Ceylon supports a local wood-based economy that includes 121 mills, with a $1.69 million payroll impact. Once completed, the area will also become part of a much larger Wildlife Management Area and serve as an ideal hunting and fishing destination for sportsmen across the Southeast.
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