For immediate release: January 24, 2017
Proposed plan includes $16.3M in state resources for the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board
Montpelier, VT – – Supporters of Vermont’s conservation community praised Governor Phil Scott’s budget address proposal to allocate $16,304,840 of state resources to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.
“It is exciting to see Governor Scott’s budget priorities include sustaining Vermont’s long-standing commitment to investments in land conservation,” said Elise Annes, Vice President for Community Relations at the Vermont Land Trust and Vermont Housing and Conservation Coalition Co-chair for more than 11 years.
“We want to join the Governor in using Vermont Housing and Conservation Board investments to protect our state’s natural resources and our working landscape so that we can maintain a strong, affordable and vibrant state for all Vermonters.”
Conserving family farms, forests, trails, swimming holes, ecological treasures, and community open space offers countless benefits to our state – producing local foods, creating jobs, maintaining clean air and water, supporting recreation and rejuvenation, providing habitat for wildlife, keeping our Vermont traditions, building our forest economy, offering food security, supporting tourism and our quality of life.
Land and water conservation is important for the health and safety of our citizens by easing the pace and impacts of climate change, reducing flooding, and providing places for all Vermonters to enjoy the outdoors. Easy access to trails and the outdoors contributes to Vermont’s ranking as one of the healthiest states in the country.
“Strong funding for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board provides an essential investment in Vermont’s landscape that supports our invaluable green image, our economy, and our wellbeing,” said Phil Huffman, Director of Landscape Conservation and Policy with The Nature Conservancy and Vermont Housing and Conservation Coalition Co-chair. “We look forward to working with the Governor and his team to maximize the benefits of these wise investments.”
Conservation of our working lands and natural areas is an economic development engine that supports rural vitality. Farm and farm-related sectors are responsible for 17% of Vermont’s gross state product.
The USDA reports that Vermont agriculture generates 11% of jobs in the state.
Protecting our forestland helps prevent fragmentation of the landscape and secure the future for our forest product and outdoor recreation industries. Conservation supports Vermont’s annual $1.5 billion tourism industry by protecting our special Vermont brand which depends upon our world-class landscape and access to natural area recreation. These investments bring additional returns by encouraging outdoor recreation activities and promoting travel and tourism, maintaining Vermont’s high rank as one of the world’s great tourist destinations.