For folks interested in conserving and protecting North Carolina’s open spaces, the state’s recently approved budget brought some good news. The new budget includes important increases in open space conservation funding.

The Clean Water Management Trust Fund – perhaps the state’s most important funding source for open space protection – received an additional $4 million in one-time funding. The increase brings the overall appropriation for this fund to $18.3 million for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

The Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) also got a boost of $4 million, bringing its overall appropriation for FY18-19 to $20.2 million. PARTF provides dollar-for-dollar matching grants to local governments for parks and recreation projects. It is also the primary source of funding to build and renovate state parks facilities as well as to buy land for new and existing parks.

A portion of PARTF also supports is the state’s Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Program

Bird Island

The state’s trust fund for farmland preservation also grew, with an additional $1.7 million in permanent funding and $13 million in one-time investment. These funds bring the trust fund’s recurring appropriation up to $4.3 million, and the overall appropriation for FY18-19 to $17.3 million.

In addition, the budget appropriates an additional $3.39 million to 30 specific local parks projects. An additional $2.5 million was appropriated to expand the Bird Island Coastal Reserve in Brunswick County, which the federation helped protect from development. 

Taken together, the state’s new budget invests $61.7 million open space conservation, including the trust fund appropriations, direct appropriations for local projects and the Bird Island funding.