Voters Give Overwhelming Approval to Land Conservation Measures

Voters across the country yesterday overwhelmingly approved a variety of measures for land conservation, generating a total of $2 billion, according to results tallied by The Trust for Public Land, a national conservation organization.

There were 35 proposals for conservation funding, and 28 passed, for an approval rate of 80%.

“Yesterday, Americans stepped up and said they want to preserve land and protect clean air, clean water, farm lands, and other natural resources,” said Will Rogers, TPL’s President. “It’s the same result we have seen election after election – American voters care about the lands and water where they live, and they’re voting with their wallets. And this support hasn’t changed over the years, despite the challenging economic times we’re living in.”

“Congress should follow the lead of the voters and approve full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund before the end of this year,” said Rogers.

Including Tuesday’s results, there were 48 measures on ballots for all of 2010, and 39 passed for an approval rate of 81%. The measures are tracked by TPL’s Conservation Finance team, which advises state and local governments on conservation funding and helps win approval for measures dedicating public funds for parks and conservation.

Some examples from around the nation:

  • In Iowa, voters gave landslide 63% approval to an amendment to the state constitution creating a permanent trust fund for money to protect and restore the state’s natural resources. .
  • In Oregon, voters passed by 68% a measure which indefinitely continues to set aside 15% of the revenue generate by the Oregon Lottery for protection of water, parks and wildlife habitat in the state. The set-aside provision had been scheduled to expire in 2014 had it not been extended. The provision has generated more than $800 million in the past decade for conservation.
  • In Maine, voters gave 59% approval to a statewide bond providing for investments in land conservation, and the preservation of working waterfronts and state parks.
  • In Tigard, Oregon, voters passed a $17 million bond measure to provide for new parks in the city. The 52% approval reversed an earlier decision by voters to reject a park bond
  • Voters in Dorchester County, S.C., gave 71-29 approval to issuing $5 million in bonds to buy parkland, trails and wildlife habitat.

TPL is a national conservation organization which preserves land for parks, open space, wilderness, playgrounds, and gardens. Since it was created in 1972, TPL has preserved more than 2.8 million acres in 47 states. TPL depends on the support of individuals, foundations, and corporations.