Prioritizing land and water conservation

Thank you to North Carolina’s governor and legislators for passing a budget that prioritizes land and water conservation. Funding of $48.4 million to the state’s conservation trust funds will benefit people and nature for generations.

Our state’s conservation needs are not one-and-done. The Land for Tomorrow coalition thanks our state leadership for building on the foundation of conservation funding established in 2021. By securing reoccurring funding, every generation now has a chance to have clean air and water as well as beautiful places to play.

Land and water are North Carolina’s most important economic assets. The four engines of North Carolina’s economy – agriculture, tourism, forestry and the military – depend on land and water conservation. Therefore, protecting these vital natural resources is essential to North Carolina’s bottom line – boosting spending and providing jobs.

Our state’s conservation trust funds ensure that the North Carolina Land and Water Trust Fund (NCLWF), Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF), and the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (ADFPTF) are fully funded to be the safeguards for our state. In addition, these funds enable conservation groups to continue working with state agencies to protect North Carolina’s valuable natural resources, ensuring that both current and future generations will continue to benefit from all our state has to offer.

Thank you to the governor and our legislators for conservation funding of the following:

  • Increases recurring funding for the North Carolina Land and Water Fund by $11 million, taking the total recurring funding from $13.2 million to $24.2 million.
  • Increases recurring funding for the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund by $8 million, taking the total recurring funding from $16.2 million to $24.2 million.

To learn more about the impact of the conservation trust funds and see your tax dollars in action, follow Land for Tomorrow on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/L4TNC – and Twitter – https://twitter.com/land4tomorrow.

NC Land & Water Fund Successes!

Since its creation in 1996, the NC Land & Water Fund (NCLWF) has conserved well over one-half million acres and protected or restored 3,000 miles of streams and rivers. Here are just a few examples of how they’ve helped protect land in our state.

  • Orchard at Altapass
    In the 1990s, the property was for sale and many people thought it would be developed for second homes. However, the new owners wanted to preserve its beauty and history. The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) worked with the owners to protect the orchard by raising funds to purchase conservation easements, which included a grant of $180,843 from NCLWF. Together with the state, the property is now in permanent conservation easement and is still a working orchard. Learn more.
  • Waccamaw River
    NCLWF has awarded 10 projects, totaling over $9 million for projects in the Town of Lake Waccamaw and the Waccamaw lake and river system. This funding has matched over $11 million from local, state, federal, and private funds. Read more.
  • Chestnut Mountain Nature Park
    Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy made this park in Canton, NC, possible thanks to a $1.2 million award from the NC Land and Water Fund, with support from the Attorney General’s office EEG grant, CTNC, Pigeon River Fund, and more. Add this new park to your must-hike list.
  • Salmon Creek – Site X
    This site could hold clues to North Carolina’s oldest mystery, the lost colony of Roanoke. In 2017, NCLWF awarded a grant to the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust to assist with the purchase of 995 acres at the confluence of Salmon Creek and the Chowan River. The Salmon Creek tract is steeped in North Carolina history and could provide clues about much of our state’s past. Preliminary surveys indicate the presence of 18 different archaeological sites throughout the property. Learn more.
  • New River
    With funding from the NCLWF, New River Conservancy works with landowners in Alleghany, Ashe, and Watauga counters to replant and maintain stream-side environments. In Ashe County, Greater Lansing Area Development will restore over half a mile of the actively eroding streambanks of Big Horse Creek. Together, these projects will protect and enhance the trout streams and outstanding resource waters of the New River. Learn more.

Invest in Conservation for North Carolina’s Future

Our state’s conservation needs are not one-and-done. The Land for Tomorrow coalition is working with state leaders to build on the foundation of conservation funding. Every generation deserves to have healthy functioning land and water that are not only beautiful but also provide clean air and water.

We commend our governor and legislators for passing a budget in 2021 that prioritized land and water conservation. Our state leaders put our parks, game lands, forests, trails, and farms at the top of the priority list and we are thankful for that. This historic spending allocation was the highest since the 2008 recession and will benefit people and nature for generations to come.

Land and water are North Carolina’s most important economic assets. The four engines of North Carolina’s economy – agriculture, tourism, forestry, and the military – depend on natural and working lands and clean water. Protecting these vital natural resources is essential to ensure these economic drivers will continue to flourish and provide jobs for North Carolinians.

Our state’s conservation trust funds ensure that the North Carolina Land and Water Trust Fund (NCLWF), Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF), and the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (ADFPTF) are fully funded to be the safeguards for our state. These funds enable conservation groups to continue working with state agencies to protect North Carolina’s valuable natural resources, ensuring that both current and future generations will continue to benefit from all our land has to offer.

In 2022, we are asking for our legislators to invest in our state’s future. With necessary increases in funding to the conservation trust funds, we will all be able to protect our state’s clean water, parks and recreation land, and farmland. Our state legislators alone determine the fate of the conservation trust funds and important legislation that helps our state thrive. Forward planning is what we’re asking for today.

Land and Water Fund
Increase recurring funds to:

  • $25 million recurring in FY22-23
  • $35 million recurring in FY23-24
  • $45 million recurring in FY24-25

Parks and Recreation Trust Fund
Increase recurring funds to:

  • $25 million recurring in FY22-23
  • $35 million recurring in FY23-24
  • $45 million recurring in FY24-25

Additional Funding for Conservation Projects
Non-recurring funds to LWF for military projects and to help match the FY 2023 ENC Sentinel Landscape REPI Challenge proposal to the US Dept of Defense

Heirs Property
The Land for Tomorrow Coalition supports HB 367/S363, Uniform Partition of Heirs Property

Conservation Tax Credit
The Land for Tomorrow Coalition supports H323, Military Readiness and Rural Resilience Act

Restore Dedicated Conservation Funding
Adopt House Bill 372/Senate Bill 354 “Restore Funding/State Conservation Purposes”

Trails Funding
Land for Tomorrow support recommendations from the Great Trails State Coalition

State Parks
The Land for Tomorrow Coalition supports recurring funds to NC State Parks to open & operate new facilities and land funded by the Connect NC Bond, PARTF stateside LWCF and other sources as recommended by the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources

Game Lands
The Land for Tomorrow Coalition supports recurring funds to NC Wildlife Resources Commission to manage new and expanded game lands as recommended by the WRC

Forests
The Land for Tomorrow Coalition supports recurring funds for NC Forest Service to manage state forests as recommended by the Commissioner of Agriculture

Help us make sure that our land and water is protected for everyone.

Ways you can get involved:

  • Share on social media – Share a photo or video about the land you’ve enjoyed and want to protect using #land4tomorrow on Twitter or Instagram.
  • Ask your friends to join – Encourage your friends to make a video.
  • Thank your legislator – Let them know we appreciate their support of NC land and water

Conservation Trust Funds Bring Success

Spring is a great time to get outside and enjoy the beauty of the North Carolina outdoors. Here are a few great places to visit thanks to grants North Carolina conservation trust funds.

Mainspring Conservation Trust
  • You can’t go wrong with a springtime hike in the mountains! Visitors can take advantage of the most extensive trail system found on any Mainspring property. The Tessentee Bottomland Preserve is a stop on the NC Birding Trail with the preserve’s bird list at 129 species and butterfly list at 56 species and counting.

    VISIT: 2249 Hickory Knoll Road, Franklin, NC 28734

    Learn more about this beautiful slice of North Carolina history.

  • Spring means getting ready to dip our paddles in North Carolina’s waterways! Have you checked out the Deep River Paddle Trail and the Haw River Natural Area? Both of these areas greatly benefitted from the conservation trust funds.

    Learn more about these two natural beauties:

  • Asutsi means “bridge” in the Cherokee language. This short, easy trail (0.4 miles) offers a good family hike with a stream to splash in and rocks to clamber.
    CTNC

    VISIT: The Asutsi trailhead is on U.S. 221, 0.6 miles south of the U.S. 221 intersection with Holloway Mountain Road.

    The Conservation Trust for North Carolina recently closed on the Florence Boyd Home/Asutsi Trailhead Property thanks to funding from the NC Land and Water Fund and support from Fred and Alice Stanback. This protection will help keep this trail accessible for generations to come. Read more about the area.

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

Proposed Increase to Land and Water Conservation Funding a Win for NC

The Land for Tomorrow coalition commends Governor Cooper for providing increased, reliable funding for land and water conservation in his recommended budget. Restoring a portion of the real estate conveyance tax to the state’s conservation trust funds as it was originally intended will help provide stable funding for the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, and the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund.

The Governor’s budget proposal aligns very well with Land for Tomorrow’s goals to increase recurring appropriations and re-establish a dedicated revenue stream to stabilize the trust funds, by dedicating a portion of the state’s share of the deed stamp tax.

The dollars appropriated by the state and granted by the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, and the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund are leveraged dollar for dollar to build a healthy and thriving economy for North Carolinians. Continuing to invest in the state’s conservation trust funds is critical to continuing to establish North Carolina as an exceptional place to work, live and raise a family.

The members of Land for Tomorrow commend the Governor’s recommendation to add an additional nonrecurring $10 Million to the ADFPTF to help the state match federal US Department of Agricultural and Department of Defense farmland preservation funding; and allocate 35 percent of the apportioned Deed Stamp Tax proceeds to CWMTF and PARTF and 15 percent to the ADFPT and NCHTF, equating to an additional $6.55M each to CWMTF and PARTF and $2.8 M to the ADFPTF in recurring revenues.

We look forward to the coming short session where we will work with members of the General Assembly to establish an amended budget that continues its support of strong investment in conservation in support of the agriculture, military, tourism, hunting and fishing, and a $37.6 billion outdoor recreation sector that supports 260,000 North Carolina jobs.

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Post date: May 10, 2018

General Assembly Budget Support for Land and Water Conservation Praised

The Land for Tomorrow coalition commends the Legislature for providing more than $22 million in additional funding for the state’s three conservation trust funds. These additional funds help keep the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund at level funding from recent years, which will enable conservation groups to continue to work with our state partners to protect the state’s valuable natural resources.

In addition, the significant increase to the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund will provide matching funds for two recent federal grants, including one that will help protect land around military bases from incompatible development, and another one that will help protect family farms in the North Carolina mountains.

“We appreciate the legislature’s support of these critical conservation trust funds,” said Bill Holman, Chairman of the Land for Tomorrow Legislative Committee. “We look forward to working with the legislature in future years to continue to increase funding for these trust funds.”

Land for Tomorrow is a coalition of conservation groups and parks and recreation advocates, who partner with the state and local governments and private landowners to conserve North Carolina’s land and water resources, preserve farmland, protect military bases, expand hunting and recreation opportunities, and sustain North Carolina’s economy.

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Post date: June 6, 2018