Sun rising over the Yellowstone River with views of the river and surrounding treeline.
Sunrise on the Yellowstone River This stretch of the Yellowstone River will be free to flood and meander © Ocean Media Institute


2020 Ballot Measures

Seven States, $2.2 Billion for Conservation

In 2020, voters in seven states passed ballot measures that secured public funding and forward-looking policies to protect nature near them and help address climate change. These measures total $2.2 billion for conservation.

Trees and fields overlying the Edwards Aquifer in Texas.
Protecting the Edwards Aquifer Voters in Hays County, Texas, can vote to fund more conservation around the Edwards Aquifer. © Chase A. Fountain for The Nature Conservancy

Protect Land, Water and Oceans

Michigan (PASSED): Michigan voters are considering Prop 1 to protect the state’s water, wildlife and parks. This measure makes important adjustments to the state Natural Resource Trust Fund and the State Park Endowment Fund, which have pumped over $1 billion into land conservation in Michigan over the last 40 years.

Colorado (PASSED): Two water districts—one encompassing 15 counties on the West Slope and another encompassing three counties north of Denver—are considering new funding to ensure there is enough clean water for biodiversity, farmers, ranchers, and citizens alike along with water education programs.

Hays County, Texas (PASSED): Voters in Hays county are voting on $75 million for conservation of critical tracts of land and for protection of the Edwards Aquifer, a major drinking water source for San Antonio and Central Texas.

A group of smiling volunteers at Mount Tabor Park in Portland, Oregon.
Mt. Tabor Park Parks funding for Portland, Oregon, is on the 2020 ballot there. © Tim Jewett

Portland, Oregon (PASSED): Portland voters are considering $200 million in additional funding for the parks bureau, which manages natural areas throughout the city and provides recreational opportunities to many Portlanders.

Toledo, Ohio (PASSED): In Toledo, voters are considering an additional $160 million for Metroparks Toledo for development, repair, and maintenance of parks and for the development of the Glass City Metropark and Riverwalk. If passed, Metroparks will restore and revitalize hundreds of acres of greenspace connected by five miles of multi-use trails spanning both sides of the Maumee River.

New Paltz, New York (PASSED): This scenic Hudson Valley town is considering raising $3.5 million for clean drinking water, natural areas, and farmland preservation.

A man inspects solar panels on top of a roof.
Solar Panels A ballot measure in Ohio would allow the city of Columbus to contract for more renewable energy. © Denison University

Climate Change

Denver, Colorado (PASSED): The City of Denver is considering a ballot measure that would provide $720 million over the next 20 years for climate programs such as energy efficiency, transportation, and environmental justice priorities. The funding will implement findings from the Denver Climate Action task force and create a city bureau to oversee the spending.

Columbus, Ohio (PASSED): The Columbus Choice Aggregation ballot measure would allow the city of Columbus to negotiate a contract with an energy supplier to provide 700 megawatts of locally-sourced renewable energy for city residents and small businesses. Should the ballot measure pass, Columbus would have the largest aggregation program in the Midwest.

California (PASSED): California localities—from Culver City, to San Francisco, to Santa Clara, to Los Angeles, to Long Beach—are taking up measures that will provide policies and funding to combat wildfires, protect open space, increase funding for parks, address climate change and racial injustice, and help support economic recovery.