Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Great American Outdoors Act National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund (GAOA LRF)

What does the Great American Outdoors Act fund?

The landmark legislation — the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA)— created the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund (GAOA LRF) and fully funded the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). GAOA authorizes up to $1.9 billion annually in fiscal years (FYs) 2021 – 2025 for four U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) bureaus and one agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture: Interior's National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Education, and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s  U.S. Forest Service to address priority deferred maintenance projects. GAOA also permanently funds LWCF with $900 million annually.

This website concentrates on GAOA LRF-funded projects. More information about LWCF can be found on Interior's LWCF site.

When was the Great American Outdoors Act signed?

The Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law on August 4, 2020. Interior developed the initial list of GAOA LRF projects for the first year of funding by November 2020 and received Congressional authorization to proceed in March 2021.

Visit our About page to learn more about the GAOA LRF legislation.

When will GAOA LRF funding run out?

The Great American Outdoors Act funds GAOA LRF through fiscal year 2025; however, due to the time frame to complete these complex construction projects, work on GAOA LRF-funded projects will likely continue for several years beyond 2025. While GAOA LRF funding will not address the full DM&R backlog, it is expected to slow the growth of DM&R needs over time.

Where does GAOA LRF funding come from?

GAOA LRF funding is derived from 50 percent of all energy development revenues due and payable to the United States from oil, gas, coal, or alternative/renewable energy development on public lands and water from the previous fiscal year. The maximum amount contributed to GAOA LRF each fiscal year is $1.9 billion.  

What government agencies and bureaus receive funding from GAOA LRF?

GAOA LRF authorizes the following allocation of funding annually:

  • National Park Service: 70%, or up to $1.33B
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: 5%, or up to $95M
  • Bureau of Land Management: 5%, or up to $95M
  • Bureau of Indian Education: 5%, or up to $95M
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s  U.S. Forest Service: 15%, or up to $285M.
What parks, refuges, public lands, and Tribal communities are receiving GAOA LRF funding?

276 projects have been funded in fiscal years 2021-2023 with work planned in every state and multiple territories. Interior has proposed an additional 56 projects for fiscal year 2024. 

Find out more about GAOA LRF-funded projects on our Projects page.

How are projects selected?

Each year, the GAOA LRF bureaus propose DM&R projects that best meet the GAOA LRF project goals: 1) Maximize Citizens Served, 2) Improve Financial Health, 3) Protect Those We Serve, and 4) Plan for the Future. Bureaus also consider additional factors including:

  • Project readiness (i.e., ability to rapidly initiate work when funding is received)
  • Projects that employ sustainable life-cycle asset management strategies or with the potential to attract outside investment/contributions
  • Projects that support Presidential priorities include:  job creation, youth/job corps, climate resiliency, underserved communities, clean energy, and conservation/resource threat protection

Within these goals, each bureau has established its own step-down, mission-focused criteria and internal guidelines for GAOA LRF project selection. Once identified, the projects go through many layers of review before proposal in the President’s Budget.

What are Maintenance Action Teams?

Maintenance Action Teams (MATs) are groups of federal employees brought together to work on short-term construction, demolition, or habitat restoration projects that would otherwise go to a private contractor. The teams are made up of the next generation of federal facility managers, building trades workers, and craftspeople from many field stations across one or more regions. MATs save money for the bureaus while building skills and strengthening the cohesiveness of the bureaus' full maintenance workforce. They are a great resource to put GAOA LRF dollars to work at small and medium parks and refuges. Learn more on the Maintenance Action Team page.

 

Deferred Maintenance and Repair (DM&R)

What is meant by deferred maintenance and repair?

Deferred maintenance and repair (DM&R) refers to maintenance and repair activities that were not performed when scheduled and are delayed to a future period. The DM&R backlog is a point-in-time estimate of the total cost it would take to complete the cumulative maintenance and repair work that was not completed when originally scheduled. 

Why is it important to address the DM&R backlog?

Deferring maintenance and repair activities can negatively impact the condition of an asset in the near term, resulting in degraded asset performance and customer experience.  In the long term, it can shorten the life of an asset. The asset may need to be replaced sooner, increasing the total cost of ownership. As Interior’s assets age and visitation increases, DM&R can make assets more expensive to repair and maintain in good condition. In fact, our public lands and waters have seen increased visitation over the last decade, with some of the most popular national parks breaking visitation records in 2020 and 2021.

Addressing DM&R helps to ensure our visitors can safely use and enjoy public facilities and infrastructure. Learn more about the benefits that GAOA LRF provides to visitors, wildlife, and natural resources on our Program Impact page.

What is the current estimated size of the backlog for the four GAOA LRF bureaus?

As of September 30, 2022, Interior's deferred maintenance and repair backlog for the four GAOA LRF bureaus totaled approximately $30.8 billion.

How does GAOA LRF address DM&R?

GAOA LRF has up to $1.9 billion in funding available yearly to address high-priority deferred maintenance and repair needs. The participating Interior bureaus propose projects that address overdue maintenance needs as well as support GAOA LRF program goals. GAOA LRF investments fund the work required to restore assets to good condition, so they are safe and usable as designed. In other cases, GAOA LRF-funded projects replace or remove assets entirely so that Interior stops incurring costs for unusable assets.

Why does the DM&R backlog continue to grow?

Many of Interior’s assets are older and in continuous use, which makes them expensive to repair and maintain in good and safe condition. At the same time, visitation significantly increased on federal lands, contributing to even more degradation as roads, facilities, schools, trails, and water systems see increased use.  

GAOA LRF will help to retire a significant amount of DM&R, helping to slow the growth of the backlog. Much like a home, Interior’s assets will always need ongoing care and maintenance. When annual funding to address planned maintenance falls short of what is necessary, it leads to asset degradation and deferred maintenance. The longer maintenance or repair needs are deferred, the costlier it becomes to repair them in the future. 

Learn more about deferred maintenance and repair on our Deferred Maintenance and Repair page.

Does the DM&R backlog account for projects that are in progress? 

Interior tracks the total cost of DM&R. GAOA LRF projects are addressing DM&R needs across the country; however, an asset’s DM&R costs are generally not retired, or removed from the backlog list, until a GAOA LRF project is completed. Consequently, Interior’s DM&R backlog does not account for maintenance and repair projects that are in progress.

What else is Interior doing to address the DM&R challenge?

Interior funds maintenance activities through annual appropriations, visitor fees, and funds from new legislation. Additionally, Interior’s Office of Acquisition and Property Management and other bureaus are adopting an asset management framework that emphasizes a lifecycle approach to deliver a right-sized, resilient, and sustainable asset portfolio. 

Learn more about how Interior manages its assets and deferred maintenance on our Deferred Maintenance and Repair page.


Click an icon below to explore a bureau GAOA LRF website.


 
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