North Carolina’s three conservation trust funds give essential support to land and water protection projects across our state, supporting our economy, keeping drinking water sources safe, creating parkland and public recreation sites, providing safe zones around military bases and training grounds, sustaining family farms, and safeguarding our unique natural heritage and quality of life.
A 2011 study by The Trust for Public Land found that North Carolina’s investment in conservation via these trust funds has returned four dollars for every one dollar spent. The value comes in the form of natural goods and services, such as cleaner drinking water sources, erosion control and flood mitigation. The study noted that additional economic benefits are found in the impact conservation has on jobs, businesses and industries related to agriculture, outdoor recreation and parks, military bases, tourism and more.
The Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) is a primary source of grants allowing hundreds of local governments, state agencies, and conservation nonprofits to address water pollution, protect clean water supplies, and conserve lands that are ecologically, culturally, or historically significant. CWMTF has protected more than 460,000 acres of watershed and nearly 5,000 miles of stream buffers. In the past two years, CWMTF awarded nearly $50 million in grants to communities and conservation organizations.
The Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) supports land acquisition and improvements within the state’s park system. PARTF is the main source of funding for local parkland acquisitions, facility improvements, and public beach and estuarine access. PARTF provided more than $200 million for 850 local park projects and funded more than $500 million in projects since 1994.
The Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (ADFPTF) supports the state’s agricultural economy by funding programs that support working family farms through conservation easements on threatened farmland and agricultural development projects. ADFPTF dollars also match Department of Defense funds to protect farms and working forest near military facilities. ADFPTF has protected more than 22,000 acres of family farms to date.
Demand for trust fund grants far exceeds available resources. More than 70 percent of registered voters support restoring state funding for the conservation trust funds to $100 million to protect water quality, conserve working farms, and preserve parkland and historic sites.