The 2012-13 budget approved by the North Carolina State Legislature included $10.75 million for the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF). It is less than last year’s $11.25 million and nearly 90 percent below the all-time high of $100 million in FY 2003–2004 and subsequent years.
The provision that limited acquisitions by the CWMTF to buffers surrounding military installations was lifted in this year’s budget. This represents another important step for the CWMTF to expand and continue its work to ensure all North Carolinians have access to clean drinking water sources. But there is still much work remaining to lobby and advocate for increased conservation funding. This year’s budget classifies CWMTF funding as nonrecurring – meaning the funds appropriated for 2012-13 are not guaranteed in subsequent years.
Also, there were no budget diversions from the Natural Heritage and Parks and Recreation trust funds into the general fund ($16 million was diverted last year), which will provide additional funding for conservation this year. The General Assembly also maintained $1.7 million in the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. Overall, conservation spending is projected to be down nearly 60 percent from two years ago. (Source: Adapted from Land for Tomorrow)
What is the Clean Water Management Trust Fund? In 1996 North Carolina’s General Assembly established the Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) to help finance projects that specifically address water pollution problems and focus on upgrading surface waters, eliminating pollution, and protecting and conserving unpolluted surface waters, including urban drinking water supplies. Moneys from the CWMTF may be used to acquire land or easements for riparian buffers and watersheds; to restore wetlands, buffers, and watershed lands; to repair failing wastewater treatment systems; and to improve storm water controls and management practices. For more information on North Carolina’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund, see www.cwmtf.net. (Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and CWMTF)