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Grants to Connecticut Nonprofits, Municipalities, and Water Companies for Natural Resources Conservation

Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition (OSWA) Grant Program


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: Connecticut

Important Dates
Deadline: 10/02/23 Save

Grant Description
Grants to Connecticut nonprofit conservation organizations, municipalities, and water companies for environmental preservation projects. Funding is intended for the acquisition of property that will remain undeveloped, and to assist water companies in acquiring land that will be classified as Class I or Class II water supply property. Awards are granted to projects that offer the highest conservation and recreational value and that leverage the greatest percentage of private and municipal funding.

Grants are awarded for the purchase of land that is:

  1. Valuable for recreation, forestry, fishing, and conservation of wildlife or natural resources;
  2. A prime natural feature of the state's landscape;
  3. Habitat for native plant or animal species listed as threatened, endangered, or of special concern;
  4. A relatively undisturbed outstanding example of an uncommon native ecological community;
  5. Important for enhancing and conserving water quality;
  6. Valuable for preserving local agricultural heritage; or
  7. Eligible to be classified as Class I or Class II watershed land.

Land acquired will be preserved in perpetuity predominately in its natural scenic and open condition, for the protection or provision of potable water, or for agriculture. A permanent conservation easement will be provided to the State of Connecticut, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to ensure that the property remains in a natural and open condition for the conservation, open space, agriculture, green space or water supply purposes for which it was acquired. The easement will include a requirement that the property be made available to the general public for passive recreational purposes. 


Additional Eligibility Criteria
- Applicant must be a municipality, non-profit land conservation organization (e.g., land trust), or water company.
- Water companies must purchase land that can be classified as “Class I” or Class II” after the acquisition, and must show if and how they intend to allow access to proposed land for recreational uses;
- If a non-profit land trust is purchasing land or interest in land located within a municipality considered as Targeted or Distressed (CGS section 32-9p), it must obtain approval form the chief elected official or governing legislative body;
- If a proposed property is being purchased from a water company, the property must be classified as surplus Class III land by the water company. The water company, as title holder, must be granted permission to dispose of the property by the State Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and the Department of Public Health;
- All lands or interest in lands acquired under this program must be preserved in perpetuity, predominantly in their natural, scenic, and open condition;
- For municipal applicants, if the municipality’s current Plan of Conservation and Development is more than 10 years old, a grant cannot be awarded;
- Applicants must show evidence of compliance with the terms and conditions of any previously awarded grants;
- Applicants must clearly show how the public will access and enjoy the property. If public access is not clearly shown, the property will not be evaluated or awarded a grant.

Land purchased under this program may not be for intensive recreational uses (e.g., golf courses, driving ranges, tennis courts, ballfields, swimming pools, and uses by motorized vehicles).

Grant funds cannot be used to purchase:
- Land to be used for commercial activities or for recreational purposes requiring intensive development;
- Land which has already been committed for public use;
- Land to be acquired by eminent domain.

Grant and match funds cannot be used for:
- Development costs including any passive recreation features
- Reimbursement of in-kind services or incidental costs associated with the acquisition of land (i.e., survey and legal fees, appraisals, and appraisal reviews).

Pre-Application Information
Application materials are due for submission to the Department by no later than October 2, 2023.

Yellow Book appraisals and appraisal reviews can be submitted by no later than November 2, 2023.

Applicants must show reasonable anticipation that cost-share match funding will be available within one year of the State grant being awarded.

Term of Contract
Applicants should have funds available and the ability to close the project within 18 months and finish installing signage and public access within 24 months of the award date. For a completion timeline, see page 10 of the Grant Application, in Supporting Documents, below.

Contact Information
Email applications to Allyson.clarke@ct.go

For questions or additional assistance, please contact Allyson Clarke, Property Agent, at the email address above or call (860) 424-3774.

For questions about protecting working farmland, please contact Elisabeth Moore, Executive Director at the Connecticut Farmland Trust, at

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Office of Constituent Affairs/Land Management
79 Elm Street, 6th Floor
Hartford, Connecticut 06106

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