Issue Brief

American Rescue Plan Funding for State Conservation Goals

Region

Federal, National

NCEL Point of Contact

Ruth Musgrave
Conservation Senior Advisor

Contact

Overview

In 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), committing nearly $2 trillion to speed up the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. $350 billion was set aside in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, which give state, local, and tribal governments the flexibility to address regional issues of their choice. Some states used the influx of money to focus on public lands and wildlife by reserving land for new state parks, supporting habitat restoration, and funding new animal research programs. Explore the full list of how states are using ARPA funds for conservation below:

How States are Using ARPA Funds for Conservation

Arizona Visit Arizona Initiative (2021)

  • $20 million for parks and trails improvement, $5 million for open space development, outdoor education, etc. 

Connecticut – S.B.1202 (2021)

  • $20,000 to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for an air quality study
  • $250,000 to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for the Quinnipiac Avenue Canoe Launch.

Florida S.B.2500: Appropriations (2021)

  • $59 million to the Department of Environmental Protection in Fixed Capital Outlay for Everglades Restoration, including Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and Restoration Strategies projects.
  • $25 million to the Department of Environmental Protection in Fixed Capital Outlay for springs restoration. The funds may be used for land acquisition to protect springs and for capital projects that protect the quality and quantity of water that flows from springs. 
  • $23 million to the Department of Environmental Protection for the acquisition of Rattlesnake Key Recreational Park.
  • $300 million to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the acquisition of lands pursuant to Florida Statutes, in fee simple or using alternatives to fee simple, such as conservation easements, to protect natural and working landscapes. Priority shall be provided to lands that preserve, protect, or enhance wildlife habitats or corridors and linkages or agricultural or rural lands.
  • $35 million to the Department of Environmental Protection for transfer to the South Florida Water Management District for the Green Heart of the Everglades Land Acquisition, subject to appraisal.

HawaiiH.B.200 (2021)

  • $1 million in fiscal year 2022 to support a Sea Urchin Hatchery working to properly care and restore an important part of the local ecosystem and economy.
  • $1.1 million ($995,000 in fiscal year 2022 and $120,000 in fiscal year 2023) for the Native Resources and Fire Protection Program. 
  • $2.5 million in fiscal year 2022 for Conservation and Resources Enforcement.
  • $750,000 for fiscal year 2022 to the Department of Land and Natural Resources for the forest stewardship program to build and expand facilities of the state tree nurseries
  • $300,000 in fiscal year 2022 in order to remove invasive species of mangrove.

IllinoisS.B.2800 (2021)

  • $2 million to the Department of Natural Resources for lakes affected by development for purposes permitted by the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Maine S.P.577 (2021)

  • $7.635 million in FY 2023 to provide one-time funding for infrastructure projects that support fisheries connectivity and habitat restoration.

MichiganS.B.0565 (2021)

  • Michigan’s House, Senate, and Administration agreed on an over $4B supplemental appropriations bill that includes $250M for state parks and $200M for parks and trails. This represents an unprecedented one-time investment, (for context the total budget for MDNR this year is only a little over $500M). 

Mississippi S.B.3062  (2022)

  • $16 million in FY 2023 to the entity that oversees the operations of state parks for the purpose of improvements to state parks due to increased use and to promote tourism.

NebraskaL.B.1014 (2022)

  • $150,000 to the University of Nebraska to update the 2014 Climate Change report, this includes green infrastructure and conservation projects 
  • Also dedicates $8 million to wastewater projects within state parks 

New HampshireFiscal Item (2021)

  • $250,000 to the Department of Energy to fund an impacts assessment study on the deployment of offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine.

OregonH.B.5006 (2021)

  • $500,000 to the Water Resources Department for assistance to local governments with meeting fish passage requirements for dam upgrade projects.

Puerto RicoExecutive Report (2022)

  • $10 million for an Environmental Conservation and Natural Resources Program.

TexasS.B.8 (2021)

  • $3 million is appropriated to the Parks and Wildlife Department for the purpose of providing funding to the Texas State Aquarium Center for wildlife research.
  • $300,000 is appropriated to the General Land Office for the purpose of providing funding for a cost and component analysis of the Coastal Texas Study design elements to be conducted by the Gulf Coast Protection District under an agreement between the office and the district.

VermontH.315 (2021)

  • $5 million to the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation for the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative. 

WashingtonS.B.5165 (2021)

  • $400 million for the Fish Passage Barrier Removal project.

Resources

NCEL Resources

Online Resources

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Legislative text for the enacted American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319)

Go to resource
Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds - U.S. Treasury Department

This program, a part of the American Rescue Plan, delivers $350 billion to state, local, and Tribal governments across the country to support their response to and recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency

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