Today, August 12, 2020, United States Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhard has established the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) Coordination and Implementation Task Force, to implement the Department of the Interior’s portion of the GAOA. As previously reported, the law will help address the historically underfunded, multi-billion-dollar deferred maintenance backlog at our national parks and public lands in addition to funding new public access projects across the country. $9.5 billion over the next five years will be dedicated to tackling deferred maintenance needs, and $900 million per year into perpetuity will be invested from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for new conservation and recreation opportunities.
“President Trump’s actions to pass this conservation law are historic,”said Secretary Bernhardt. “I’ve established a task force to maximize the impact of the Great American Outdoors Act and determine priority funding needs, so we can expeditiously serve the American public in rebuilding their national parks, American Indian schools and public lands.”
The task force, established by Secretary's Order 3383, will do the following:
1. Develop a strategy to maximize the impact of the Great American Outdoors Act. The strategy shall ensure a timely project proposal and review process that minimizes delay and ensures decisive action; cuts across Bureaus; and includes establishment and utilization of a centralized project management office.
2. Identify an initial list of priority deferred maintenance projects that are ready to be implemented in Fiscal Year 2021 and provide the list to the Secretary of the Interior within 50 days of the date of this Order.
3. Evaluate staffing needs and direct relevant Bureaus/Offices to initiate necessary hiring and recruitment efforts.
4. Identify additional policies and/or revisions to existing policies or practices that are needed to maximize successful implementation of the Great American Outdoors Act.
5. Develop best management practices for deferred maintenance projects; and
6. Recommend such other actions as may be necessary to fulfill the goals of this Order.
The Task Force will work with other Federal agencies and Tribes to effectively implement the Act.
For more information, check out the full text of the order here.