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Hochul awards more than $3 million in conservation partnership program grants


Tue, May 7th 2024 01:40 pm

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced more than $3 million for 64 projects her team said will protect water quality, prevent farmland conversion, boost public access for outdoor recreation, and conserve open space. The funding awarded through the conservation partnership program will support 44 not-for-profit land trusts across the state.

“The conservation partnership program grants are a critical component to preserving our state's natural beauty and enhancing local communities,” Hochul said. “With this increased funding, we are extending the reach and effectiveness of these projects to improve public health, increase tourism, foster sustainable economic development, and empower communities.”

Today’s grants are supported by the state’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and will be used to leverage an additional $2.5 million in private and local funding. In coordination with Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Land Trust Alliance administers the conservation partnership program. Since its creation in 2002, 1,208 grants totaling more than $31 million have been awarded to 94 land trusts. Cumulatively, the state's investment has leveraged an additional $32 million in private and local funding.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Interim Commissioner Sean Mahar said, “The $3 million grants announced today are advancing locally led action to protect natural resources and habitats that are essential for mitigating climate change and preserving biodiversity.”

detailed breakdown of funded projects is available on DEC’s website.

A press release stated, “This year's grantees include 34 accredited land trusts that secured independent verification that their work and operations meet high standards for land conservation, stewardship, and nonprofit management,” and are noted with an asterisk below.

Local grant awards include:

Western New York – $189,929 total

√ Buffalo Niagara River Land Trust*: professional development grant, $100,000

√ Grassroots Gardens WNY*: capacity grant, $50,000

√ Western New York Land Conservancy*: capacity grant, $32,000

√ The Nature Sanctuary Society of Western New York: transaction grant, $7,929

Land Trust Alliance President and CEO Andrew Bowman said, “The people of New York need and deserve open spaces for the many health, recreation and economic benefits they provide. This new round of Conservation Partnership Program grants signals a strong commitment to protecting the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers and the environment, and will leverage the strengths of New York’s land trust community to protect treasured local outdoor places and help provide important climate benefits.”

In December 2022, Hochul signed legislation setting the goal to support and contribute to national efforts to conserve at least 30% of U.S. land and water by 2030. Her team said, “This law promotes biodiversity and preserves New York's wildlife, forests and clean water sources, which are all essential to New York's health and economy. The 2024-25 enacted state budget sustains the EPF at a historic $400 million. The EPF provides funding for critical environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, enhanced recreational access, water quality improvement, and an aggressive environmental justice agenda.”

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 approximately 950-member land trusts supported by more than 250,000 volunteers and 6.3 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operates several regional offices. More information is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.

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