Funds Will Help 47 Land Trusts Across the State Leverage Community Contributions and Additional Private Investments
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $2.2 million in Conservation Partnership Program grants for 47 not-for-profit land trusts across the state. A total of 70 grants funded through New York's Environmental Protection Fund will leverage an additional $2.2 million in private and local funding to support projects that protect water quality and farmland, boost public access for outdoor recreation and conserve important open space areas that will benefit community health, tourism and economic development.
"Land trusts make a real difference in local communities, maximizing public and private dollars to protect and preserve New York's natural resources," Governor Cuomo said. "Through the Environmental Protection fund, New York is bolstering our extensive network of land trusts that provide support for environmental and open space programs, generating revenue, creating jobs and ensuring a cleaner and healthier New York."
"From natural wonders like Niagara Falls and the Adirondacks, to our beautiful state parks, we treasure our environment and natural assets across New York," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today's announcement. "With continued investment in the Environmental Protection Fund we are delivering resources and partnering with Land Trusts to safeguard our public spaces, farmland, and waterways. This funding will boost preservation efforts in every region of our state, and further our commitment to conservation."
As part of New York State's weeklong celebration of Earth Day, the grants were announced with the Land Trust Alliance at a statewide land trust gathering at Red Jacket Riverfront Park in Buffalo celebrating New York's commitment to protecting the environment. The Land Trust Alliance administers the Conservation Partnership Program in coordination with the State Department of Environmental Conservation.
In addition, the $2.2 million in Conservation Partnership Program grants and $2.2 million in private and local funding will help build the resiliency of lands to the changing climate and contribute to climate solutions by storing carbon. Recent research underscores the role that natural climate solutions will have in addressing risks associated with climate change.
Grant awards range from $3,550 to $100,000, with 17 awards directing $533,970 to the Capital District; four awards directing $111,550 to Central New York and the Mohawk Valley; four awards directing $142,500 to Long Island; 21 awards directing $521,380 to the Mid-Hudson Valley; three awards directing $90,000 to New York City; 11 awards directing $456,100 to the North Country; and 10 awards directing $394,500 to Western New York, the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier. For a detailed breakdown of these grants and an overview of how the funds will be spent is below and also available on the DEC website.
Western New York - total $394,500:
- Buffalo Niagara River Land Trust: Stewardship & Resource Management Grant $30,000
- Ducks Unlimited: Catalyst Grant $35,000
- Finger Lakes Land Trust: Catalyst Grant $20,000; Stewardship & Resource Management Grant $28,500
- Genesee Land Trust: Capacity Grant $32,000; Catalyst Grant $60,000
- Genesee Valley Conservancy: Transaction Grant $29,000
- Grassroots Gardens WNY: Capacity Grants $60,000
- Western New York Land Conservancy: Professional Development Grant $100,000
Central New York/Mohawk Valley - total $111,550:
- Cazenovia Preservation Foundation: Professional Development Grant $71,100
- Otsego Land Trust: Capacity Grant $20,000; Transaction Grants $20,450
North Country - total $456,100:
- Adirondack Land Trust: Capacity Grant $30,000; Stewardship & Resource Management Grant $23,500
- Champlain Area Trails: Professional Development Grant $100,000
- Lake Placid Land Conservancy: Catalyst Grant $60,000
- Northeast Wilderness Trust: Transaction Grant $40,000
- Ontario Bays Initiative: Stewardship & Resource Management Grant $37,700
- The Nature Conservancy: Stewardship & Resource Management Grant $20,000
- Thousand Islands Land Trust: Stewardship & Resource Management Grant $49,000; Transaction Grant $43,300
- Tug Hill Tomorrow: Land Trust Capacity Grant $36,800; Transaction Grant $15,800
Capital District - total $533,970:
- Agricultural Stewardship Association: Capacity Grant $30,000
- Battenkill Conservancy: Capacity Grant $25,000
- Capital Roots: Transaction Grant $14,800
- Columbia Land Conservancy: Catalyst Grant $40,000; Transaction Grant $45,000
- Grassland Bird Trust: Capacity Grant $35,000
- Greene Land Trust: Capacity Grant $10,000; Capacity Grant $21,000
- Lake George Land Conservancy: Stewardship & Resource Management Grant $40,000; Transaction Grant $38,220
- Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy: Transaction Grant $24,600
- Open Space Institute: Catalyst Grant $50,000
- Rensselaer Land Trust: Capacity Grants $29,000
- Rensselaer Plateau Alliance: Professional Development Grant $100,000
- Saratoga PLAN: Capacity Grants $31,350
Mid-Hudson - total $521,380
- Delaware Highlands Conservancy: Capacity Grant $37,500; Transaction Grant $25,000
- Friends of the Great Swamp (FrOGS): Transaction Grant $7,270
- Greenburgh Nature Center: Stewardship & Resource Management Grant $20,000
- Hudson Highlands Land Trust: Transaction Grants $90,000
- Mianus River Gorge Preserve: Stewardship & Resource Management Grant $49,900
- Mohonk Preserve: Capacity Grants $40,000
- North Salem Open Land Foundation: Capacity Grant $9,000
- Orange County Land Trust: Capacity Grant $8,000; Transaction Grant $7,400
- Putnam County Land Trust: Capacity Grant $25,150
- Teatown Lake Reservation: Capacity Grant $19,500; Stewardship & Resource Management Grant $40,000
- The Trust for Public Land: Transaction Grant $15,000
- Wallkill Valley Land Trust: Capacity Grant $35,000
- Westchester Land Trust: Capacity Grant $39,700; Transaction Grants $24,960
New York City - total $90,000
- Brooklyn-Queens Land Trust: Capacity Grant $25,000
- Green Guerillas: Capacity Grant $25,000
- The Nature Conservancy: Catalyst Grant $40,000
Long Island - total $142,500
- North Shore Land Alliance: Capacity Grant $37,000; Stewardship & Resource Management Grant $40,500
- Peconic Land Trust: Capacity Grant $25,000
- The Trust for Public Land: Catalyst Grant $40,000
This year's grantees include 33 accredited land trusts that have secured independent verification that their work and operations meet high standards for land conservation, stewardship and nonprofit management. Accredited grantees include Agricultural Stewardship Association, Cazenovia Preservation Foundation, Champlain Area Trails, Columbia Land Conservancy, Delaware Highlands Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, Finger Lakes Land Trust, Genesee Land Trust, Genesee Valley Conservancy, Greene Land Trust, Hudson Highlands Land Trust, Lake George Land Conservancy, Mianus River Gorge, Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, Mohonk Preserve, Northeast Wilderness Trust, North Salem Open Land Foundation, North Shore Land Alliance, Open Space Institute, Orange County Land Trust, Otsego Land Trust, Putnam County Land Trust, Rensselaer Land Trust, Rensselaer Plateau Alliance, Saratoga PLAN (Saratoga Preserving Land and Nature), The Nature Conservancy, Thousand Islands Land Trust, Trust for Public Land, Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust, Wallkill Valley Land Trust, Westchester Land Trust, Western New York Land Conservancy, and Woodstock Land Conservancy.
Since the Conservation Partnership Program's inception in 2002, and including this year's grants, the program has awarded 928 grants totaling $19.45 million to 90 different land trusts. Cumulatively, the State's investment has leveraged $21.2 million in additional funding from local and private sources.
New York's investment in land conservation and open space supports local businesses, saves taxpayer dollars and protects public health. The Trust for Public Land found that every dollar invested by New York's Environmental Protection Fund generated $7 in total economic benefits from enhanced tourism, reduced government costs and improved public health. In the 2019-20 State Budget, Governor Cuomo sustained the record-high EPF at $300 million for the fourth year in a row, providing funding for open space conservation, parkland stewardship and other environmental protection projects.
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "As we celebrate Earth Week by honoring the value of our natural resources in our daily lives, we recognize that land conservation is essential in providing endless environmental and economic benefits for New Yorkers and visitors alike. DEC partnerships with land trusts are crucial to achieving our conservation goals, and we look forward to continuing to work together to protect and enhance our environment."
Andrew Bowman, the Land Trust Alliance's president and CEO said, "New York has long been a leader in land conservation - and these new grants affirm the state's commitment to protecting water sources, boosting public access and providing many other benefits. As we mark Earth Week, we're reminded: The more we provide for our land, the more our land provides for us. With that in mind, I know the investments we make today with these grants will do as much for us as they do for the land. This is money well spent."
Senator Todd Kaminsky, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee said, "The funding for the Conservation Partnership Program will bolster services provided by local land trust organizations dedicated to conserving New York's natural beauty and making open spaces accessible for recreational opportunities. Long Islanders will benefit greatly from the $142,500 slated to fund four projects to protect the green spaces and outdoor recreation that make our communities such a wonderful place to live."
Assembly Member Steve Englebright, Chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "I was glad to support funding for these much needed land trust grants in the budget. My colleges and I understand what's needed for responsible land stewardship, and I'm confident that the grant recipients will effectively use the awards to further protect and conserve New York's open spaces, protect water quality, and provide opportunities for recreation. I wish to thank Governor Cuomo for his support of the program."
Nancy Smith, Executive Director, Western New York Land Conservancy said, "The Conservation Partnership Program has transformed our organization. With support like today's staffing grant, we have grown from a staff of two in 2004, to a staff of 13 today. With this added capacity, we have expanded our traditional work on farmland protection and saving wild places, while also embracing a new $1 million project to create an inspiring new urban nature trail along the Buffalo River right in the heart of downtown Buffalo. Thank you for helping us save these magnificent places while also connecting them with our community."
About the Land Trust Alliance
Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents 1,000-member land trusts supported by more than 200,000 volunteers and 4.6 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available here.