The 2021 NC Budget will Benefit People & Nature for Generations to Come

Thank you to North Carolina’s governor and legislators for passing a budget that prioritizes land and water conservation. This historic spending allocation for land and water conservation is the highest since the 2008 recession and will benefit people and nature for generations to come. When additional resilience money is factored in, it represents a benchmark for conservation funding.

“I’ve been at this a long time and this budget is one for the ages,” says Bill Holman, NC State Director of the Conservation Fund. “This is great news for nature and for people. Game lands, parks, trails, and communities that are threatened by flooding will all benefit.”

In a year with surplus funding, our state leaders put our state’s parks, game lands, trails, and farms at the top of the priority list and we are thankful for that. This is a strong boost for conservation funding that we can build on in future years.

Our state’s conservation needs are not one-and-done. Land for Tomorrow coalition members will work with our leaders to build on this foundation. Every generation deserves to have a beautiful North Carolina.

Thank you to the governor and our legislators for funding:

Land and Water Fund

  • $62.7 million for FY21-22 and $64.7 million for FY22-23
  • $15 million in nonrecurring funds in FY21-22 for floodplain projects, bringing the total for all NCLWF projects in FY21-22 to $77.7 million.

Parks and Recreation Trust Fund

  • $61.7 million in FY21-22 and $61.7 million in FY22-23
  • $10 million in FY21-22 specifically for local parks projects for persons with disabilities

Trails Funding

  • Creation and funding of the new Complete the Trails fund at $29,250,000, as well as the new Trails Coordinator position

Farmland Preservation

  • $12,970,000 in FY21-22 and $12,970,000 in FY22-23.

State Parks & Sewer Projects

  • $40 million for water and sewer projects in State Parks
  • Fully funds the operating requirements for State Parks that have been recently expanded or improved: $2.1 million recurring and $877,000 nonrecurring in FY21-22, and increased to $3.5 million recurring in FY22-23.
  • The authorization of two new State Park units: the Roanoke River Paddle Trail and Bakers Lake State Natural Area.

Some Highlighted Projects

  • $12.2 million for Pisgah View State Park ($9 million in FY21-22 and $3.2 million in FY22-23)
  • $150,000 to Blue Ridge Conservancy for the Watauga Paddle Trail
  • $200,000 to the Foothills Conservancy for Oak Hill Community Park
  • $4 million for Vade Mecum at Hanging Rock State Park
  • $550,000 for Mayo River State Park land purchase
  • $500,000 to BRC for Middle Fork Greenway
  • $50,000 for Northern Peaks Trail
  • $4 million for Pilot Mountain Bean Shoals Trail
  • $3.1 million for Rendezvous Mountain Park, which will be a satellite annex of Stone Mountain SP
  • $3 million for the Wilderness Gateway State Trail

Resilience Priorities
As noted above the resilience package contains $15 million for the Land and Water Fund. In addition, it includes:

  • $20 million to the Division of Mitigation Services within DEQ for the creation of a “statewide Flood Resiliency Blueprint”
  • $15 million for a Disaster Relief and Mitigation Fund at DPS
  • $15 million for a Transportation Infrastructure Resilience Fund at DPS
  • $25 million to Golden Leaf for a Small Project Mitigation and Recovery Program
  • $40 million for a Coastal Storm Damage Mitigation Fund at DEQ
  • $4 million for a Dam Safety Emergency Fund at DEQ
  • $3.5 million to DEQ for specific DMS pilot projects
  • $1.15 million to DEQ’s Division of Coastal Management for the Resilient Coastal Communities Program
  • $300,000 to DEQ’s Division of Coastal Management for 2 time-limited, full-time positions to staff the Resilient Coastal Communities Program