Voters Approve $1.4 Billion for Conservation

SAN FRANCISCO, 11/7/2007: On Tuesday, voters across the country approved 34 of 55 conservation funding measures on the ballot, generating $1.4 billion in new conservation funding.

The results capped a year which saw voters, during the entire year, pass 64 of 98 ballot measures, totaling nearly $2 billion in new conservation funding. Although still quite strong, the approval rate for this off-year election trails the historic 75 percent approval rate for conservation finance ballot measures.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), and its lobbying affiliate, the Conservation Campaign (TCC), had another successful election, helping win eight of 11 measures on Tuesday’s ballot and creating almost $460 million in new state and local government funds for land conservation. Of the 18 measures TPL and TCC supported throughout all of 2007, 15 passed – a success rate of 83 percent.

Major highlights from Tuesday included approval of statewide measures in Maine ($17 million) and New Jersey ($200 million) which will provide vital infusion of funding to those states’ land conservation programs.

Other highlights:

  • This year’s largest measure for land conservation, a sales tax extension in Suffolk County, NY, which will generate nearly $600 million to protect drinking water supplies and farmland on Long Island.
  • The smallest measure, a property tax increase in the Village of Loch Arbor, New Jersey, which sets aside about $214,000 for land conservation.
  • Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where voters approved an $87 million bond with 74 percent of the vote.
  • Texas, where all four local spending measures for parks and conservation succeeded, continuing Texas’ voters nearly unblemished record of approving conservation ballot measures.
  • Oyster Bay, N.Y., which passed a $60 million bond, the town’s third successful open space bond this decade.
  • Mecklenburg County, N.C., approved nearly $34 million in new conservation funding. A similar measure had failed in 2005.
  • Hoboken, N.J. voters approved the city’s first open space tax, which will generate $10 million for parks and open space.
  • Boulder County, Colo., voters extended their open space sales tax for another 20 years. 2007 marks the 40th anniversary since the passage of Boulder’s original open space sales tax.
  • Ellington, Conn., voters approved a $2 million bond for farmland preservation with an overwhelming 80 percent support.

For more details, please consult TPL’s LandVote database (

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. TPL has helped to protect more than 4.2 million acres across the country.