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OPRHP releases for public review & comment draft eligibility guidelines for Environmental Bond Act open space land conservation and recreational infrastructure projects


Thu, Jun 20th 2024 06:40 pm

Comments due July 19

Submitted by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation today released for public review and comment draft eligibility guidelines to support open space land conservation and recreation infrastructure projects under the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022 (Bond Act). Protection and improvement of open spaces is a key goal of the Bond Act to advance climate resiliency and adaption, provide the public with access to recreational opportunities, and preserve and enhance habitat conservation and biodiversity.

“The Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act will help improve quality of life and overall health in our communities, especially those with limited access to open space,” OPRHP Commissioner Pro Tempore Randy Simons said. “Projects funded through the Bond Act will protect natural habitat and provide accessible, quality, outdoor recreation, and open space to all New Yorkers. OPRHP encourages comments on these draft guidelines to help shape the future of New York’s public parks and public lands.”

The eligibility guidelines will support funding for open space land acquisition and conservation easements consistent with the Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation law and that align with the 2016 New York State Open Space Conservation Plan, including land restoration or recovery projects. The guidelines will also support recreational improvements to protected open space, including enhanced access and infrastructure improvements that will support public park functions and enhance the existing natural, ecological and recreational resources within a park or historic site to make public parks and historic sites more inclusive and welcoming to all potential patrons.

The full eligibility guidelines are available in this week’s Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Public comments on the draft guidelines will be accepted until 5 p.m. Friday, July 19, and can be submitted in writing: by mail to Nita Chicatelli, special assistant to the commissioner, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233; and by email to [email protected].

Disadvantaged communities

The Bond Act requires that disadvantaged communities shall receive no less than 35%, with the goal of 40%, of the benefit of total Bond Act funds ($4.2 billion). Disadvantaged communities are those identified by the Climate Justice Working Group, pursuant to the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Consistent with this Bond Act requirement, DEC will aim to prioritize 40% of grant awards benefit disadvantaged communities.

New York’s Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022

On Nov. 8, 2022, New Yorkers overwhelmingly approved the $4.2 billion Environmental Bond Act. State agencies, local governments, and partners will be able to access funding to protect water quality, help communities adapt to climate change, improve resiliency, and create green jobs. Bond Act funding will support new and expanded projects across the state to safeguard drinking water sources, reduce pollution, and protect communities and natural resources from climate change.

Since the Bond Act passed, an interagency working group comprised of multiple state agencies has been implementing a transparent and collaborative process to identify needs for environmental funding across the state to help develop program logistics. In the last year, the state announced a $200 million funding investment toward the state’s existing Water Infrastructure Improvement and Intermunicipal Grant programs, $100 million available for zero-emission school buses, $100 million available for Clean Green Schools, $13.1 million to support construction of the Adirondack Rail Trail, $68.1 million to support the build out of Sojourner Truth State Park in Ulster County, and state-administered forestry projects to plant 25 million trees by 2033. Find more Bond Act-related information and sign up for progress updates.

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