Many people become advocates to protect a place that is near and dear to them: Rolling farmland like the Banfi Fields; coastal areas like the DeForest Williams property; precious habitat like Smithers Pond and the Shu Swamp Preserve. These conservation accomplishments would not have been possible without large-scale government involvement inspired by our community’s efforts to advocate for their preservation.
On the state and local level, government is an important source of conservation funding and legislation that protects critical natural resources. Since 2003, our local community has raised $255M through public ballot measures for land acquisition, park creation, storm water remediation and brownfield redevelopment. The Land Alliance took the idea of an environmental bond to the Nassau County Executive, conducted polling to determine likelihood of success, shepherded the enabling legislation through the Nassau County Legislature and funded and managed the promotional campaigns to ensure a successful outcome. We also worked with the Towns of Huntington and Oyster Bay to sponsor campaigns and passed, in total, all five ballot measures in six years. These ballot measures won because of the support of our community with greater than 70% of residents voting “yes” on both the north and south shores of western Long Island.
Most recently, the Land Alliance worked with Suffolk County, the Town of Huntington and New York State to purchase the DeForest Williams property in a public/private partnership. This $8.5 million deal was the first of its kind on Long Island and lauded by Newsday as the new model for conservation.
Federal tax policy encourages donations of land and conservation easements and the recent U.S. Farm Bill provides billions of dollars for land protection. Additionally, non-profits, such as ours, rely on federal tax deductions and exemptions to fund our operation.
Advocacy efforts are critical to the future of land conservation. Your opinion matters to our elected officials and we urge you to stay involved, remain active in local land and water conservation issues and make your voice heard. Together, we can make things happen and continue to save the places we love most.