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Study Ties Conservation in NC to Economic Benefits

By Michelle Bliss

02-25-11 – A study released this week by the national nonprofit Trust for Public Land found that every dollar spent on land and water conservation in North Carolina returns $4 worth of natural resources to the state.

The study looked at the economic benefits of conservation promoted through natural services, like flood control and drinking water protection.

Debbie Crane, with the conservation group Land for Tomorrow, says that linking conservation to these less obvious financial benefits is crucial as state lawmakers cut spending.

"We recognize that in bad economic times, when lawmakers are meeting in Raleigh, they may say, Well, do we really need to spend money right now on pretty views? Can't we put that off?' But when you look at it in terms of saving money on drinking water, preserving drinking water, driving up the economy, then, you need to keep spending that money."

The study also found that North Carolina spent an average of about $73 million each of the past 10 years to acquire or protect nearly 290,000 acres.

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