Ballot Box Conservation: How citizens are mobilizing to protect natural resources

In an era of tightly constrained U.S. federal budgets, state and local funding for land conservation is of critical significance. David Hartwell,  the 2016-2017 Kingsbury Browne Fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, spearheaded one of the largest land conservation ballot initiatives in U.S. history, which amended the Minnesota state constitution in 2006 to provide $6 billion for land and natural resources conservation over 25 years through a sales tax increase. Hartwell tells the story of the campaign to pass the ballot initiative, highlighting the practical and policy challenges facing private, non-profit and public sector leaders who would undertake similar initiatives, and describes the initiative’s impact over the past decade. In the introduction, James Levitt, manager of land conservation programs at the Lincoln Institute and director of the Program on Conservation Innovation at the Harvard Forest, Harvard University, surveys ballot initiatives in conservation finance in the United States, drawing on data from LandVote, the premier resource for information on conservation ballot initiatives in the United States, a joint effort of the Trust for Public Land and the Land Trust Alliance.