Conservation Partnership Program grants totaling $1.4 million were awarded to 53 nonprofit land trusts across the state according to a statement by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Land Trust Alliance. The grants, funded through New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), will be matched by a total of $1.2 million in private and local funding.
The purpose of the grants is to increase the pace, improve the quality and ensure the permanence of voluntary conservation of private lands, which is expected to result in environmental and economic benefits for communities throughout New York.
The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) will receive a grant totaling $8,300 to hire two interns for the summer. The interns will enable LGLC to partner with the Student Conservation Association and contract with two student interns to assist with preserve management and easement monitoring, and to develop and implement educational programs for children, adults and local families.
The North Elba Land Conservancy and the Placid Lake Foundation each will receive $5,000 to conduct an organizational assessments based on Land Trust Standards and Practices. North Elba Land Conservancy is an all-volunteer land trust. The Placid Lake Foundation is a first-time Conservation Partnership Program grant recipient
The Placid Lake Foundation was also awarded $7,500 to partner with the North Elba Land Conservancy in order to convene and educate local landowners, attorneys, accountants, and land trust board members about conservation easements, and to contract with a consultant to evaluate a potential merger of the two all-volunteer land trusts.
The North Elba Land Conservancy was also awarded $9,400 for the Intervale Lowlands conservation easement (133 acres), on the West Branch of the Ausable River.
Agricultural Stewardship Association (ASA, Greenwich, Washington County) was awarded $20,000 for their Building Greater Community Support for Food and Farms Project that is expected to enable ASA to engage new communities and constituencies for farrmland conservation, including the city of Glens Falls.
American Farmland Trust (Saratoga County) was awarded $25,000 to developing a Farmland Protection Engagement Campaign to Save New York’s Farmland Project that is expected to support the development of a long-range fundraising and communications campaign to attract and mobilize new audiences to support AFT’s farmland protection work in NY.
Indian River Lakes Conservancy (IRLC, Jefferson County) was awarded $15,000 for their project Build For Sustainability: Outreach, Membership and Development – which supports IRLC’s work to build organizational capacity and financial resources necessary to ensure that thier all-volunteer land trust becomes a strong, effective and sustainable organization that can continue to grow.
Lake Champlain Land Trust was awarded $20,000 to enhance New York land protection around Lake Champlain. The project is expected to enable Lake Champlain Land Trust to expand its landowner and community outreach, programming and conservation planning efforts along the western shore of Lake Champlain. Lake Champlain Land Trust is a first-time Conservation Partnership Program grant recipient.
Adirondack Land Trust was awarded $10,000 to enable the organization to update and improve record-keeping systems for its portfolio of conservation easements in preparation for national land trust accreditation.
Champlain Area Trails was awarded (Westport) was awarded a $50,000 two-year grant to enable the 3-year old land trust to create a full-time position that will strengthen local community outreach and improve its communications to landowners, supporters and project partners in the Champlain Valley. Grant includes a Land Trust Standards and Practices Assessment
The Conservation Partnership Program grants will help local land trusts around the state sustain and expand community and landowner outreach, land conservation, stewardship and education programs. The grants are expected to advance regional economic development goals, create land trust jobs and strengthen partnerships with local and state governments while advancing locally supported efforts to preserve farmland, municipal watersheds and green infrastructure around the state. Land trusts will also apply grant funds to prepare for national accreditation, supporting New York land trust commitments to rigorous standards for organizational excellence.
Grant awards ranged from $75,000 to $5,000. Land trusts awarded grants include the North Shore Land Alliance, Hudson Highlands Land Trust, Columbia Land Conservancy, Finger Lakes Land Trust, Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust, Genesee Land Trust and Western New York Land Conservancy. Grant funds are intended to assist land trusts in advancing goals set in the New York State’s Open Space Plan and state wildlife action plan.
The EPF-funded grants will also support urban open space programs administered by the Manhattan, Bronx and Brooklyn-Queens Land Trusts, Capital District Community Gardens and Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo.
The $1.4 million was awarded by region as follows:
Western New York /Finger Lakes/Southern Tier: 10 awards totaling $232,650
Central New York/Mohawk Valley: 5 awards totaling $80,300
Northern New York/Adirondacks: 14 awards totaling $257,200
Capital Region: 14 awards totaling $246,262
Hudson Valley: 22 awards totaling $456,088
New York City: 2 awards totaling $100,000
Long Island: 3 awards totaling $45,000
The full list of award recipients is available online.
Since the program’s inception in 2002, the Conservation Partnership Program has awarded $6,677,500 in grants for 434 projects benefiting 79 different land trust organizations across the state and leveraged more than $13 million in additional funding. These funds have helped create employment and advancement opportunities in the conservation field and helped local communities permanently conserve 15,500 acres of farmland, wildlife habitat, recreation areas and urban open space. The Alliance administers the Conservation Partnership Program in coordination with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Recent research underscores how investments in land conservation and open space boost property values, support local businesses, save taxpayer dollars, and protect public health. A study released in February by the Trust for Public Land found that every dollar of investment from New York’s Environmental Protection Fund generates seven dollars in additional economic benefits from tourism, reduced government costs and public health. A 2010 report on the economic benefits of open space from the New York State Comptroller recommended the Conservation Partnership Program as a model for public-private collaboration because it leverages substantial resources for local efforts to preserve clean air and water resources, agriculture, and outdoor recreational opportunities close to home.