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Report: Land conservation slows in N.C.

A new report says the pace of land conservation in North Carolina slowed dramatically in recent years, largely because of cutbacks in funding of the state’s four conservation trust funds.

According to the report released last week by Land for Tomorrow, a North Carolina coalition of conservationists, since 2005 roughly 389,400 acres of land have been protected from development through public and private efforts.

But land conservation declined during 2009 to 2011 compared with 2005 to 2008, the report says.

On average, 75,160 acres a year were protected in North Carolina from 2005 to 2008. That fell to an average of only 29,582 from 2009 to 2011.

Also, between 2007 and 2011, funding from the state’s conservation trust funds declined from $172.1 million to $34.5 million. In 2007, the trust funds were able to fulfill nearly half of all funding requests. But by 2011, they could only fund less than one-sixth of requests.

The report calls for protecting 399,000 acres and 1,750 miles of waterways across the state.

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