NY Voters Approve $778 Million for Conservation

New York, NY, 11/8/2006: On November 7, voters nationwide approved $5.7 billion in new public money to protect land for parks and open space-the highest amount ever according to the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national land conservation organization that has tracked conservation funding results since 1988. Voters passed 99 out of 128 measures (or 77 percent). The monetary increase can be attributed in large part to a California measure, Proposition 84-that included $2.25 billion to improve drinking water, flood control, protection of coastlines, and state parks.

A complete list of results from local and state balloting on conservation and parks is available on-line today from LandVote 2006-www.landvote.org.

In New York, 10 out of 12 measures passed, meaning an additional $778 million in conservation funding. Nassau County voters approved significant conservation funding for the second time in three years. The county started a program on a modest scale two years ago with the passage of a $50 million bond. This year, voters approved another $100 million. In addition, five eastern Long Island towns-East Hampton, Southampton, Southold, Riverhead, and Shelter Island-approved approximately $655 million in Community Preservation Funds by extending the lives of their real estate transfer taxes.

“Nothing breeds success like success,” said Erik Kulleseid, New York State Program director for The Trust for Public Land. “The Nassau County landscape protection program has been very successful, which has helped build recognition of the need for greater and continued funding. Long Island will soon be built out and the counties and communities are working to ensure that sufficient land is set aside to maintain a high quality of life.”

The Town of Southeast is the first Putnam County town to vote on a conservation measure. Voters approved a $5 million bond to pay for open space conservation, in particular to protect drinking water sources. The town’s Open Space Advisory Committee will work with the town board to identify properties to be purchased from willing sellers.

“The 2006 election results demonstrate that no matter what their party affiliation, American voters overwhelmingly vote “green” for open space,” said Ernest Cook, director of Conservation Finance for The Trust for Public Land.

Since 1994, voters have approved more than 1,500 conservation measures, generating more than $43.3 billion in new public funds for conservation.

The Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. To date, TPL has helped protect more than 2.2 million acres nationwide, including more than 75,000 acres in New York. Visit www.tpl.org/newyork.