2018 Ballot Measures
Seven States, $15.2 Billion for Conservation
We are poised for another banner election year for conservation funding. With more than $5 billion already secured through previous ballot and legislative campaigns, an additional $15.2 billion for conservation is within reach this fall.
2018 Conservation Ballot Measures Across the U.S.
Initiative 1631 in Washington — DEFEATED
This would be the first state to put a price on carbon via the ballot. Thanks to robust fundraising efforts, we are running a competitive campaign on the airways and online, and we have a strong field program against a formidable opposition funded by oil and gas interests.
Initiative 1631 will generate between $800 million and $1 billion annually. Funding includes:
- 70% to “clean air and clean energy," with 15% going to ease the burden on low-income energy consumers. $12 million would go to a fund that helps ease fossil fuel workers' transition out of the industry.
- 25% to “clean water and healthy forests,” increasing the resilience of the state’s natural ecosystems to climate change.
- 5% to “healthy communities,” assisting communities (including rural ones) impacted by climate change.
Outdoor Stewardship Program in Georgia — PASSED
After a narrow defeat of a dedicated funding stream in Georgia in 1998, the Georgia chapter has worked diligently over the last 10 years to get the legislature, and now the people of Georgia, in position to establish the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program. The measure reallocates 80% of sales tax on outdoor goods, creating a $22.5 million a year fund for the next 10 years.
General Obligation Bond in Rhode Island — PASSED
Rhode Island’s governor doubled the state’s general obligation bond proposal to $47.3 million after our Rhode Island chapter shared polling showing strong public support for funding open space, coastal resiliency, dam removals, river restoration, drinking water and other conservation priorities.
Impermeable Surface Tax in California— PASSED
Los Angeles presents opportunities to address growing concerns in urban areas and is a great example of our Building Healthy Cities goals. LA County is proposing a 2.5 cent parcel tax levy on impermeable surface on private property that requires support of two-thirds of the voters to pass. The measure will generate $300 million a year for at least 30 years to address stormwater runoff and drinking water concerns. Our team in LA successfully lobbied to incorporate nature-based solutions as part of the funding options to ensure both nature and people are protected. In a city stricken by drought, the combined grey and natural infrastructure investments will save 42 billion of the 100 billion gallons of stormwater from running into the ocean annually.
Open Space Protection in Colorado — PASSED
Denver is attempting to raise $920 million over the next 20 years for open space protection and management in Denver and the Denver Mountains as well as protection and restoration of rivers and streams.
Open Space Protection in Montana— PASSED
The citizens of Missoula, Montana, will have the opportunity vote on a bond and levy that would produce $25 million for open space protection and ecological land restoration and stewardship.
Flood Mitigation and Open Space Funding Bond in Texas — PASSED
Our Texas chapter is part of the leadership team supporting an Austin bond measure that will dedicate $184 million to flood mitigation and $149 million to open space and parks as part of a larger community infrastructure bond package.
What Does This Mean for People and Nature?
Our lands and waters provide a wide range of ecosystem services, making funding generated from these measures a high return on investment. By investing public dollars into natural resources, we improve people’s quality of life, health and economic well-being. Additionally, incorporating and investing in nature-based solutions alongside gray infrastructure allows us to meet clean water demands for cities by designing a more sustainable urban landscape, an important factor for the welfare of people.