Land for Tomorrow Praises House Budget Proposal

House spending plan would significantly increase funding for conservation

Land for Tomorrow, a statewide coalition supporting public funding for land and water conservation, is praising House budget writers for significantly increasing the state’s investment in land and water conservation. The House budget proposal, which was released on Thursday morning, contains significant funding increases for both the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.

Conservation advocates praised the House budget writers for the additional appropriations.  “An increase of this level sends a clear signal that protecting our land and water is a high priority for the House,” said Will Morgan of The Nature Conservancy.  “We would especially like to thank Representative Chuck McGrady, Representative Pat McElraft, and Representative Nelson Dollar for their strong support of conservation funding during the House appropriations process.”

The Clean Water Management Trust Fund received $13.6 million in appropriations in last year’s budget, and under the house’s budget that number would increase to $26.85 million. The Clean Water Management Trust Fund is the primary tool used by non-profit land trust and state agencies for land and water conservation projects, and its projects include buffers around military bases, Wildlife Resources Game Lands, State Parks, stream buffers, greenways, and state historic sites.

The Parks and Recreation Trust Fund received $13 million in appropriations in last year’s budget, and under the house’s budget that number would increase to $25.5 million. The Parks and Recreation Trust Fund supports improvements in the state’s park system and provides dollar-for-dollar matching grants to local governments for parks, facilities, and trails.

The Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund received $xx million in last year’s budget, and under the house’s budget that number would increase to $x million. The Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund funds conservation easements on working farms and forests to preserve the land, enable long-term production of food and fiber, and allow landowners to maintain ownership of their family lands.

Land for Tomorrow Releases 2014 Conservation Yearbook

In conjunction with its annual Lobby Day, Land for Tomorrow released its 2014 Conservation Year Book, which tells the stories of some of our state’s “faces of conservation” and provides a county-by-county listing of successful conservation projects made possible by the state’s three conservation trust funds.

Conservation supporters from across North Carolina came to Raleigh to educate state legislators about how important land and water conservation are to our state’s health, economy, and quality of life.  Participants pushed for increased funding of the state’s three successful conservation trust funds. It’s an investment in the future!

Land for Tomorrow is advocating for $25 million per year for the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, $25 million per year for the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, and $5 million per year for the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund.

Land for Tomorrow Applauds Clean Water Management Trust Fund Board

RALEIGH, N.C. – September 17, 2014: North Carolina’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) continues to fund outstanding land and water conservation projects across the state.

During its September 16 meeting in Raleigh, the board approved funding for 23 land conservation projects that will safeguard water quality, provide recreational opportunities, preserve important cultural sites and wildlife habitat. Funds for these 23 projects totaled more than $9.3 million out of an overall $12.7 million allocated by the board, with the additional funds going to stream restoration and innovative stormwater projects.

Funded projects included top priorities for the North Carolina Department of Parks and Recreation, Wildlife Resources Commission, Department of Agriculture and the Department of Cultural Resources. Projects receiving funding include:

  • $1 million for an addition to the NC Forest Service’s Headwaters Forest project on the North Fork of the French Broad River (Transylvania County)
  • $1 million for an addition to Chimney Rock State Park (Rutherford County)
  • $123,640 for an addition to the Department of Cultural Resources Bentonville Battlefield Historic Site (Johnson and Wayne Counties)
  • $1 million for an addition to the Wildlife Resources Commission’s Sandhills Game Land (Scotland County)
  • $180,444 to the Conservation Trust for North Carolina for the protection of a historic apple orchard adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway

A number of North Carolina’s local land trusts received awards, including the Carolina Mountains Land Conservancy, the Blue Ridge Conservancy, the Sandhills Area Land Trust, the Tar River Land Conservancy, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, Eno River Association, the Land Trust for Little Tennessee, and the LandTrust for Central North Carolina.

Reid Wilson, executive director of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina and a member of the Land for Tomorrow executive committee, applauded the board for continuing to fund conservation projects across the state, “The Clean Water Management Trust Fund took decisive action to conserve high priority natural lands that will protect drinking water supplies and clean air, preserve critical wildlife habitat, and expand recreational and cultural opportunities for North Carolina families.”

In its most recent budget, the General Assembly increased funding for the CWMTF to $14.1 million dollars for this fiscal year. However, conservation advocates point out that additional funding is needed to meet the state’s needs. During this annual funding cycle, local governments, conservation non-profits, and state agencies submitted a total of 105 applications totaling over $56 million, the majority of which did not receive funding.

“The legislature continues to show its support for land and water conservation by providing small increases to the Clean Water Management Trust Fund’s budget,” said Will Morgan, Director of Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy. “However, additional funding is needed to meet the growing demand for conservation in our rapidly developing state.”

Water and land conservation is a critical goal as North Carolina’s population continues to grow. Not only is conservation the most cost-effective way to ensure future residents have clean drinking water, but it also provides the parks, recreation and quality of life that business leaders seek when expanding or relocating companies in our state.

For more information:

Will Morgan, (336) 707 9019

Debbie Crane, (919) 619-8613

 

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