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State Funding for Land Conservation


Voters Approve Over $2 Billion for Conservation!
On November 6, voters passed 81% of land conservation ballot measures nationwide, making land conservation one of the more popular choices. Voters passed measures in Rhode Island, Maine, Texas and Colorado. Over $760 million in new funding was approved for open space acquisition, improvement of water quality and conservation of working farms and ranches. Read more.

The Land Trust Alliance is most engaged in efforts to secure improved state and local tax incentives, but we’re also working in partnership with organizations like the Nature Conservancy and Trust for Public Land to support state and local funding initiatives.

Resources | State Updates | LandVote


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New Conservation Campaign Toolkit Helps You Pass Local Ballot Measures

The Conservation Campaign Toolkit, a new web-based portal of tools, information and advice from the Conservation Campaign (TCC), is the ultimate resource for advocates seeking to win public land conservation funding. Since TCC was founded by The Trust for Public Land (TPL) in 2000, it has supported more than 300 conservation funding initiatives in communities around the country, helping to generate billions of dollars for land conservation. The Conservation Campaign Toolkit draws from the lessons learned by these local campaigns as well as the expertise of TCC and TPL field staff.

State Funding for Land Conservation

The Nature Conservancy has compiled information on sources of state funding for land conservation in all 50 states. To learn about funding sources in your state view it online.

Trust For Public Land's Conservation Almanac also has great information about existing state funidng sources.

New York State Conservation Partnership Program

Created in 2001, the New York State Conservation Partnership Program is an innovative public-private partnership which provides competitive matching grants for qualified land trusts throughout New York State for building land trust capacity and increasing the pace and quality of conservation. More information

State Updates

The grim federal funding picture is echoed in state houses around the nation, yet there are glimmers of hope from several states where land trusts have banded together to overcome budget pressures and preserve the state programs they rely on.  Please send your state policy updates to policy@lta.org so we can share them here and learn from each other.

South Carolina
- Land trusts, sportsmen and conservationists banded together and persuaded their legislators to overwhelmingly override Governor Nikki Haley’s veto of all funding for the South Carolina Conservation Bank. Read more.

Wisconsin - Gathering Waters Conservancy and American Farmland Trust led a successful effort to save the  Working Lands Initiative, which had been slated for elimination. Read more from Gathering Waters Conservancy.

Colorado - Faced with several proposals to reduce or eliminate the state’s conservation tax credit, the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts worked with legislators to enact an alternative bill that addressed their concerns without permanently reducing the program cap. More from CCLT.

Georgia – That state actually improved the tax incentives for conservation by making its existing state tax credit for donations of land and easements transferable. See the bill text.

North Carolina – The state’s fiscal year 2011-12 budget cut land acquisition funding by nearly 85 percent, although the General Assembly did produce some positive results on other conservation related legislation. Read a complete update from Conservation Trust for North Carolina.

LandVote: Americans Invest in Parks and Conservation

LandVote Report 20102010 - Voters Approve Over $2 Billion for Conservation!

On November 2, voters passed 83% of land conservation ballot measures nationwide, sending a clear message that conservation remains a bedrock American value and a top priority for voters, even in a bad economy. Statewide initiatives in Oregon, Iowa, Rhode Island and Maine won by large margins, and land trusts were integral to these victories. Read the report and see our highlights.

Land Vote 2009 Cover2009 - Victories in a Tough Economy Demonstrate Continued Public Support for Conservation

In 2009, despite a dismal economy, voters in 13 states approved over $600 million in new conservation funding, including New Jersey’s $400 million “Green Acres” bond.  While activity slowed in this off-year election, among the 40 measures on the ballot, two out of every three passed. These victories demonstrate that voters remain eager to invest in land conservation.  Read the report

landvote2008-thumb2008 - A Record Year at the Ballot Box: $8.4 Billion Approved, Despite Tough Economic Times

In 2008, voters approved 71% of land conservation ballot measures, including the largest single measure ever: a $5.5 billion sales tax in Minnesota spearheaded by Alliance board member David Hartwell.  This year's record total of $8.4 billion shows that the public still considers land conservation a high priority, even in these tough economic times. Read the report

landvote20072007 - Voters Give A 65% Approval Rate For Conservation Finance Ballot Measures

In 2007, voters across the country approved 64 of 98 conservation finance ballot measures, a 65 percent approval rate. These measures will generate $2 billion in new funding to protect natural areas, lands that protect drinking water supplies, and working farms. They will also create new parks in our growing suburban areas and our urban centers. The approval rate during this off-year election did lag behind the historic 75 percent approval rate, and that dip may stem from economic uncertainty and a real estate slowdown, especially in the Northeastern United States. Read the report

landvote20062006 - Voter-Approved Funding for Land Conservation Reaches Record Levels

At the November 7th midterm elections, voters in 23 states approved 104 ballot measures, which will provide $6.4 billion in new funding for land conservation. This eclipses the previous record, set in the November 1998 election, of $5.68 billion. Voter-approved funding for the entire year also reached an all-time high of $6.7 billion, compared to $5.86 billion in 1998. Furthermore, the 80 percent approval rate for the November election outpaced the 75 percent approval rate that has been common over the past decade. Read the report

landvote20052005 - Americans Invest in Parks and Conservation

The November 2005 elections concluded yet another very strong year for conservation finance across the country. Overall, 138 ballot measures were presented to voters and 80 percent were approved – the highest percentage of any year since 2000. Voters approved nearly $1.7 billion in new conservation dollars. Read the report

landvote20042004 - A Divided Electorate Finds Common Ground When it Comes to Conservation

In 2004, state and local voters approved 75 percent of the 217 conservation measures on ballots nationwide, generating $4 billion in new conservation funding and continuing a rate of success that has been consistent since 1996. Read the report

landvote20032003 - American Voters Care About Saving the Special Places in their Communities

Our 6th annual examination of ballot measures supporting land conservation reviews election results from 134 communities across the U.S. where voters were asked to support public funding to save farms and ranch lands, buy parkland, preserve watersheds, and support other conservation purposes. In 2003, voters again spoke loudly, approving 100 of these measures and generating $1.8 billion for conservation. Read the report

landvote20022002 - Voters Approve $2.9 Billion for Land Conservation

Voters in 93 communities in 22 states approved on Nov. 5 ballot measures that committed $2.9 billion to acquire and restore land for parks and open space. The successful measures were among 109 conservation measures considered on state and local ballots across the United States. On Nov. 5 alone, voters approved 85 percent of the referenda on which they voted.  Read the report

landvote20012001 - Voters Commit Nearly $1.7 Billion to Open Space

Voters in 2001 approved 137 of the 196 local and state ballot measures for open space, committing almost $1.7 billion in funding for parks and open space conservation, according to the Land Trust Alliance and the Trust for Public Land . Since 1998, voters have given their support to more than $19 billion in open space funding, passing 529 referenda. Read the report

landvote20002000 - The Land Trust Alliance Report of Open Space Acquisition Ballot Measures

In a year likely to be remembered for a presidential election that was almost too close to call, voters overwhelmingly agreed on at least one issue: the importance of protecting open space. In state and local elections across the nation in 2000, they committed $7.5 billion of their tax dollars to protect the landscapes around them. Read the report

landvote19991999 - The Land Trust Alliance Report of Open Space Acquisition Ballot Measures

Voters in communities across the United States in 1999 sounded an overwhelming “yes” to land conservation as they authorized more than $1.8 billion in local taxing authority and bonds for open space preservation. Read the report

landvote19981998 - The Land Trust Alliance Report of Open Space Acquisition Ballot Measures

Voters overwhelmingly approved ballot measures to protect open space on Nov. 3, 1998, voting in eight of 10 state initiatives and a vast majority of county and municipal open space measures. Land Trust Alliance compiled the results of 148 ballot questions on open space funding, of which 124 (84 percent) were approved by the public. Read the report

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Advocates Alerts

February 12: The House successfully voted 279-137, demonstrating a supermajority (67%) of support, on H.R. 644, a package of charitable incentives including the conservation tax incentive.Now we need your help in the Senate to secure co-sponsors! Sens. Heller and Stabenow have requested land trusts’ assistance in asking senators to cosponsor S. 330, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. Learn more »

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Congress wrestles with tax breaks for open space

July 29, 2014 | Poughkeepsie Journal | NY

House passes Gerlach conservation tax break bill, now up to Senate

July 18, 2014 | The Mercury News | Pottstown, PA

The Time is Now for Congress to Act on Conservation

July 15, 2014 | Politico | Washington, D.C.

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