NC’s Conservation Trust Funds

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 for hundreds of local governments, state agencies and conservation nonprofits to address water pollution and protect clean water supplies. NOTE: For many years the state also had a separate Natural Heritage Trust Fund (NHTF) that protected land that is home to rare species, important wildlife habitat and significant cultural sites. The NHTF was merged with CWMTF in 2013

The Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) supports improvements in the state’s park system and provides dollar-for-dollar matching grants to local governments for parks and improvements to public beach and estuarine access, which are important to local tourism economies. PARTF is the main source of funding for most state park improvements and land acquisition to create new parks or expand existing ones.

The Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (ADFPTF) supports public and private enterprise programs that promote sustainable agricultural, horticultural and forestland activities. It also funds conservation easements on farms, forests and horticultural lands to preserve the land, enable long-term production of food and fiber and allow landowners to maintain ownership of their family lands.


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