Register for Lobby Day 2019 – April 16

Land for Tomorrow will host it’s annual Land and Water Conservation Lobby Day on Tuesday, April 16.

Register today! 

NEW MORNING LOCATION! Lobby Day will begin with a Welcome Briefing at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 W. Jones St, Raleigh, NC 27601, 4th Floor Environmental Conference Room.

We will again offer a Pre-Lobby Day Orientation Webinar to be held on Friday, April 12 at 11:00 am to prepare our advocates with guidance on Land for Tomorrow’s 2019 legislative agenda and to answer frequently asked questions about the event.

We look forward to having you join us in Raleigh to advocate for land and water conservation that’s critical to your organization and region of the state.

Cooper’s Budget Makes Strong Commitment to Land and Water Conservation

The Land for Tomorrow coalition praised Gov. Cooper’s proposed budget, which increases appropriations to the state’s conservation trust funds and provides additional personnel for the state park system.

“Land and water conservation are important to North Carolina’s economy,” said Bill Holman, NC State Director for the Conservation Fund and chair of the Land for Tomorrow Executive Committee.  “Tourism, agriculture, and the military are all dependent on land and water conservation. That’s the reason that conservation has always been supported by both sides of the aisle. This is a good beginning; we look forward to working with the N.C. General Assembly on a final budget that supports conservation.”

Gov. Cooper’s budget:

  • Increases recurring appropriations to the Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) by $6.8 million and a one-time appropriation of $5 million. CWMTF’s 2019 total appropriation would be $25 million.
  • Increases recurring appropriations to the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) by $3.7 million and a one-time appropriation of $5 million. PARTF’s 2019 total appropriation would be $25 million.

The governor’s budget recommends $1.75 million to hire additional park staff who will work at new park facilities that were funded by Connect NC Bonds that were approved by North Carolina voters three years ago. It also recommends several additional trail projects and a continued partnership with Conservation Corps in the state park system.

Land for Tomorrow is a statewide coalition of community leaders, conservation, and wildlife organizations, and parks and recreation advocates with a common goal: increasing land and water conservation in North Carolina.

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RELEASE: March 7, 2019 

Media Contact: Debbie Crane (919) 794-4373 

3/6/19 — Support House Bill 14: Reconstitute Various Boards and Commissions

SITUATION:

We’re working to SUPPORT House Bill 14: Reconstitute Various Boards and Commissions.

As you may recall, these two boards, along with four others, were the subject of litigation, which was only recently resolved.  However, there is still some ongoing uncertainty regarding the appointments to these two boards. Legislation is needed to bring the boards into compliance with those court decisions.

SOLUTION:

Our request is that House members hear the bill to fix these boards as soon as possible.  The language in House Bill 14 would provide an immediate fix to these boards and would allow CWMTF and PARTF to continue their important work.

SAMPLE EMAIL:

Dear Representative,

I write to ask for your support for House Bill 14, which permanently fixes the constitutional defects in the Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF). As you know, these trust funds are critical to the work our organization does in our region of the state, and currently our highest priority is getting these boards fixed to resolve any ongoing uncertainty.

As you may recall, these two boards, along with four others, were the subject of litigation, which was only recently resolved.  However, there is still some ongoing uncertainty regarding the appointments to these two boards. Legislation is needed to bring the boards into compliance with those court decisions.

House Bill 14, which is cosponsored by Representatives McGrady, Torbett, Ross, and Harrison, would fix all six boards in question, including CWMTF and PARTF.  The bill has been referred to Judiciary and State/Local Government, however the bill hasn’t been calendared for a hearing yet. I would appreciate you reaching out to the Judiciary Committee Chairs, Rep. Davis and Rep. Stevens, to let them know you support this bill, and to ask them to hear the bill as soon as possible.

Thank you for your ongoing support for local parks and recreation, state parks, and land and water conservation.

TAKE ACTION

SAMPLE SOCIAL:

  • #NCGA please SUPPORT HB 14 so the #CWMTF and #PARTF boards can be fixed. This bill provides the solution we need to protect North Carolina’s beautiful spaces, clean water and clean air.#ncpol
  • #NCGA please support House Bill 14 to provide a fix to the conservation trust fund boards that would allow these funds to continue their important work. #ncpol

Carteret County News-Times: Thank you Rep. McElraft

A letter to the Carteret County News editor praising Representative McElraft’s leadership to fund the conservation trust funds.

TO THE EDITOR:

Thanks to the support of North Carolina Rep. Pat McElraft, family farms in eastern North Carolina will be preserved, military bases will be protected from encroaching development and North Carolinians will have more opportunities for outdoor recreational activities in the future.

The recently passed budget includes $22.7 million in additional money for the state’s conservation trust funds, including an additional $14.7 million for preserving working farms near military bases. Not only will this help protect our natural resources but will aid in the further development of our state’s economy.

As chair of the House Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources Appropriations Committee, Rep. McElraft has been a strong supporter of funding for parks and recreation projects. She has been an advocate for restoring dedicated funding for the conservation trust funds and coastal storm damage mitigation funds. She has demonstrated her commitment to protecting our agricultural heritage and natural resources to make North Carolina a great place to live, work and visit.

In backing efforts to benefit North Carolinians, Rep. McElraft continues to show her dedication to the people of our state. We must continue to promote and develop our outdoor recreation and tourism industries, protect our military bases and increase our efforts to conserve water and land if we hope to uphold a North Carolina that future generations can be proud to call home. I believe Rep. McElraft will continue to be a key leader on these issues and thank her for her efforts.

Jane Rouse, Morehead City

Originally published on November 17, 2018.

Jacksonville Daily News: Senator Brown’s efforts not unnoticed

A letter to the Jacksonville Daily News editor praising Senator Brown’s leadership to fund the conservation trust funds.

To the editor:

With the recent adoption of the state budget, legislators have made a renewed commitment to our citizens that they are willing to protect our state’s natural resources and scenic beauty, while promoting rural economic development. Senator Harry Brown, a longtime champion for conservation, has worked tirelessly to protect our state’s military bases, water resources and farms and to provide resources for state and local park projects.

His support for an additional $22.7 million in the budget for the state’s three conservation trust funds will help protect working family farms and forest near military bases and promote rural economic development through expanded outdoor recreational opportunities. Under the leadership of Senator Brown, North Carolinians can have peace of mind knowing their favorite streams, rivers, and lakes will be protected.

Senator Brown wants our children and our children’s children to have the same beautiful North Carolina landscapes to admire as we do today, while also strengthening rural economies. Thanks to his efforts, outdoor recreation opportunities, military bases, farms and clean water will be here for generations of North Carolinians to come.

Billy Sewell, Jacksonville

Originally published on July 10, 2018

Times-News: Ross, Gunn help protect NC natural resources

A letter to the Times-News editor praising Representative Ross and Senator Gunn on their leadership to fund the conservation trust funds.

North Carolina lawmakers are fighting to preserve the qualities that make our state one of the top places to live, work and visit. The recently passed state budget will allocate an additional $22.7 million to North Carolina’s conservation trust funds, which help protect our state’s land and water resources and provide funding for parks and recreation projects, like the Mountain-to Sea Trail. The budget also includes significant increases to preserve working family farms in the Piedmont. Alamance County state Rep. Stephen Ross and Sen. Rick Gunn were strong voices in making this additional funding a reality.

Ross has demonstrated his commitment to protecting North Carolina’s tourism and agriculture industries in his role as chair of the House Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources Appropriation Subcommittee. He has also been a strong advocate for restoring dedicated revenue sources for the trust funds. Gunn has consistently supported conservation efforts throughout his years in the Senate and has been a champion for the outdoor recreation industry, helping create an outdoor industry recruitment position in the NC Economic Development Partnership. Serving as Co-Chairman of the Committee for Senate Appropriations on Agriculture, Natural and Economic Resources, Gunn has supported land and water conservation time and time again to enhance our state’s economy and quality of life. By stewarding our state’s natural resources, legislators like Ross and Gunn are ensuring North Carolina will continue to be a great place to raise our families and expand recreational opportunities for all our citizens. I appreciate their leadership on conservation and hope they will continue these efforts to benefit future generations of North Carolinians.

Billy Sewell, Jacksonville

Originally published on July 4, 2018.

Preserving The Lindale Farm

The Lindley family has operated their 182-acre dairy farm in Chatham County since the late 1800s.

Neill Lindley, the fifth generation of farmers in the family, still owns and runs the farm today. Lindley took over his family’s farm with his wife Cori in 1982 after graduating from NC State University. In 2009, along with help from his father Darryle and son Neill Jr., the Lindleys began to transition away from traditional practices, making their farm organic and sustainable.

Part of that process involved signing their land into a conservation easement with the Triangle Land Conservancy (TLC). The easement allows the Lindleys to continue farming, and it protects their land from future development.

“We definitely try to work with landowners that use sustainable practices,” said Leigh Ann Hammerbacher, the associate director of conservation and stewardship at TLC.

TLC holds conservation easements on nearly 700 acres of farmland in the Silk Hope area of Chatham County. The American Farmland Trust estimates that 40 acres of the nation’s farmland is lost to development every hour. In Durham, Orange and Wake counties, on average one of every five acres of farmland has been lost to development over the past 20 years. These easements play an important role in protecting farmland from that development, and they are also important in helping provide farmers with much-needed funding.

Hammerbacher said the Lindley family invested the funding they received back into the Lindale Farm, aiding in the transition to more sustainable practices. Now that the farm is fully organic, she said the Lindleys are doing very well.

“This farm is one of the most successful farms in the area,” said Hammerbacher. “And they definitely believe that switching to the organic market, particularly in the dairy industry, has brought them more stability.”

The Lindale Farm is a part of Organic Valley, the nation’s largest organic farmer cooperative. Farmers sell their products locally in all 50 states, and even export to 25 countries worldwide.

Read more stories from the 2017 Conservation Yearbook here.

Conservation is Crucial to Attracting the Best and the Brightest

Red Hat is an international leader when it comes to enterprise open source software. That means the company must attract highly educated, young professionals who are in big demand. To stay on top, Red Hat must appeal to those men and women. Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst says the quality of life found in the community is an important part of that appeal.

“Our biggest competition isn’t for our customers, it’s for the best talent,” he explains. “The best and brightest have their choice of where to work – both companies and locations. More and more, we are finding that quality of life is a major determinant of where top talent chooses to live and work. I am constantly asked by people we are recruiting about the recreational opportunities in North Carolina.”

That’s why Whitehurst, who sits on the Board of Directors for The Conservation Fund, supports public funding for land and water conservation. “NC is situated in a great area that spans mountains to beaches, but we need to ensure that some of those areas are preserved and accessible for recreational use,” he says.

Even though he works in a high-tech business, Whitehurst says getting out in nature is important for everyone’s wellbeing. “I live and work in the hectic high tech world. It is exciting and fast-paced, but also exhausting. My kids live a similar world – with iPads at school and video games at home,” he explains.  “Some of our best quality family time is when we are able to get away from it all. Being in nature allows our family to build deeper bonds. It gives us time to reflect, but also be together without the myriad distractions of our normal everyday lives.”

His love of nature began with his grandfathers and parents fishing and hiking as a family.  “I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do this with my kids. Going forward, I want to make sure that I can do the same with my grandchildren,” he concludes. “And I want to make sure that others who may not have the same capacity to ’hop on a plane’ also have those opportunities nearby where they live.”

Read more stories from the 2017 Conservation Yearbook here.

Post date: April 1, 2017

Land for Tomorrow Urges Increased Conservation Funding Following Release of SB 257, Appropriations Act of 2017

Land for Tomorrow thanks the General Assembly for continuing to fund the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Parks & Recreation Trust Fund, and Agricultural Development & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund in the Appropriations Act of 2017.

However, Land for Tomorrow is concerned that in a year of budget surplus, the General Assembly is appropriating fewer dollars for conservation, which more than 70 percent of North Carolinians broadly support.

The Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) and Parks & Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) are both appropriated fewer dollars in 2017 than in 2016. While the budget does increase funding for the Agricultural Development & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, the funding levels are inadequate to match US Department of Defense funds to protect our military bases from encroachment and to match US Department of Agriculture funds to protect and restore farmland in Western North Carolina and the Piedmont, where development pressures are the greatest.

  • The General Assembly appropriated $22.4 million to CWMTF in 2016-17 and is appropriating $18.3 million in 2017-18 (a 18% decrease).
  • The General Assembly appropriated $22.7 million to PARTF in 2016-17 and $19.7 million in 2017-18 (a 13% decrease).

Land for Tomorrow will continue to work with legislative leaders to protect and restore water quality, preserve family farms that produce local and fresh food, to maintain the training mission of our military bases, and to support the $28 billion outdoor recreation industry in NC.

135 local governments, conservation organizations, and state agencies requested nearly $68 million from CWMTF in 2017. Those organizations would provide almost $165 million in matching funds, more than doubling the state’s investment. Sixty-four local governments requested $19 million from PARTF in 2017 and provided $51 million in matching funds, matched nearly three times.

Earlier this year, the US Department of Defense awarded NC a nearly $10 million Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Challenge Grant. The State has to match these funds dollar for dollar or they cannot be used in North Carolina.

Also earlier this year the US Department of Agriculture awarded Blue Ridge Forever, a coalition of the 10 land trusts in Western North Carolina, $8 million to protect and restore farmland in Western North Carolina. These funds must also be matched by state and private funds.

Land for Tomorrow will continue to work with legislators in the 2018 Short Session to improve funding levels for the trust funds to adequately meet the demand of conservation projects that benefit North Carolina communities and citizens.

Post date: June 21, 2017

Land for Tomorrow Coalition Gathers Local Legislators for Legislative Forum

Conservation Organizations Highlighted the Economic Benefits of State Funding

RALEIGH –Land for Tomorrow recently gathered members of the NC General Assembly for a legislative forum to highlight the economic benefits of state conservation funding for the mid-coastal region. The region’s major economic assets – agriculture, the military, tourism, hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation – all depend on land and water conservation.

North Carolina’s conservation trust funds – the Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF)Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF), and Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund – have invested $184 million in Jones, Carteret, Craven, Pender, and Onslow County projects that support economic development and preserve the region’s unique natural features.

Senator Harry Brown, Representative Phil Shepard, and Representative Bob Muller attended the event to hear from local conservation organizations, park and recreation supporters, and landowners who partner with the trust funds to do projects that benefit the region. NC Coastal Land Trust Point showcased purchasing farmland easements to conserve the family-owned Guthrie Farm and provide a buffer for the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point. The Nature Conservancy shared how its partnership with the Marine Corps conserved more than 44,000 acres around Camp Lejeune. State Park officials talked about the state’s investment of nearly $6.3 million at Hammocks Beach State Park.

Former State Representative Carolyn Justice moderated the forum – noting that land and water conservation is good for all North Carolinians. “What is more important to our quality of life than clean drinking water, clean air, thriving farms and forests, places to hunt, fish, and view wildlife, while still being conspicuous of jobs and a sustainable economy,” she asked.

“Land for Tomorrow appreciates the support these legislators have shown for conservation projects, but the demand for great projects exceeds available resources,” said Edgar Miller, Conservation Trust for North Carolina Government Relations Director. “The goal of these round tables is to educate legislators on the importance of these funds of and how conservation projects benefit coastal communities, the local economy and their citizens.”

Some of the issues highlighted at the round table included:

  • More than 70 percent of North Carolinians broadly support restoring state funding for the conservation trust funds to $100 million to protect water quality, conserve working farms, and acquire parkland and preserve historic sites.
  • Military buffers support North Carolina’s $66 billion economic impact of the military by preventing incompatible development.
  • 135 local governments, conservation organizations, and state agencies requested nearly $68 million from CWMTF in 2017, with only about $20 million available.
  • Sixty-four local governments requested $19 million from PARTF in 2017, with only $6.3 available.

Land for Tomorrow will continue to work with legislative and community leaders across the state to protect and restore water quality, to maintain the training mission of our military bases, to preserve family farms that produce local and fresh food, and to support the $28 billion outdoor recreation industry in NC.

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Land for Tomorrow is a coalition of land and water conservation organizations, including American Rivers, Audubon NC, Catawba Lands Conservancy, Conservation Trust for NC, The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, NC Recreation & Park Association, Triangle Land Conservancy, and NC Wildlife Federation. The coalition’s goal is to boost public support for land and water conservation across North Carolina. The North Carolina General Assembly sets funding levels for the trust funds.

Post date: November 6, 2017