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Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition (OSWA) Grant Program and Urban Green and Community Gardens Grant Program

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

Agency Type:

State

Funding Source:

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Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)

Deadline Date:

02/01/18

Description:

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Grants to Connecticut nonprofit organizations, municipalities, and water companies for the acquisition of land for conservation purposes. Priority will be given to projects offering the highest recreational and conservation value. Funding is also available for projects in distressed municipalities to enhance open space in urban areas.

The Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition (OSWA) Grant Program provides financial assistance to municipalities and nonprofit land conservation organizations to acquire land for open space and to water companies to acquire land to be classified as Class I or Class II water supply property.

DEEP is also accepting applications from municipalities (often in partnership with nonprofits) under the competitive Urban Green and Community Garden Program.

Grants for the above programs will be based on the merit of the project and the level of funds available.

Urban Green and Community Gardens Grant Program:

Grants under the Urban Green and Community Gardens Grant Program will be awarded to distressed municipalities and targeted investment communities to develop or enhance urban open space for public enjoyment and/or environmental education. The promotion of open space in an urban setting may include, but it may not be limited to, the development of a community garden or reclaiming and enhancing existing open space to allow public use.

Awards are given to those projects that demonstrate the highest ability to benefit urban communities in close proximity to population centers.

Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program Overview and Selection:

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will utilize a project selection process to objectively evaluate proposals. Land identified for acquisition will be evaluated by a review team consisting of staff from the various resource management divisions of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture. The decision to pursue acquisition of a parcel will be based on the scores and comments provided by the review team in addition to considerations such as: the criteria for the program; cost; fulfillment of a resource need; geographic distribution; proximity to urban areas or areas with a deficiency of public open space; availability of a donation or bargain sale; stewardship needs and management constraints; compatibility with the State Plan of Conservation and Development and other State environmental plans, policies, goals and objectives; and proximity to other protected open space.

Grants are made for the purchase of land that is 1) valuable for recreation, forestry, fishing, 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.

Careful attention should be given to the criteria previously listed and to: 1) protection of land adjacent to and complementary to existing open space, preserved agricultural land or Class I or Class II water company land; 2) proximity to urban areas; 3) land vulnerable to development; 4) consistency with the State’s Plan of Conservation and Development; and 5) lands with multiple values such as water supply protection and recreation, or forest preservation and fishing access. Linkages between open spaces are an important consideration as are multi-town projects such as greenways. Cooperative efforts should be fostered between towns, land conservation organizations and local community groups. Preference will be given to open space acquisitions that comply with local and regional open space or conservation and development plans.

Land acquired will be preserved in perpetuity: 1) predominately in its natural scenic and open condition; 2) for the protection or provision of potable water; 3) or for agriculture. A permanent conservation easement will be provided to the State to ensure that the property remains in a natural and open condition for the conservation, open space, agriculture, green space or water supply purpose for which it was acquired. The easement will include a requirement that the property be made available to the general public for appropriate recreational purposes. Where development rights will be purchased and where general public access would be disruptive of agricultural activity, an exception to the provision for public recreational access may be made, at the discretion of the Commissioner. Where development rights are to be purchased, the State of Connecticut will become an equal holder of those rights as a substitute for the easement.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177156

Estimated Size of Grant:

The Department may approve grants:
-To a municipality for open space in an amount not to exceed 65% of fair market value
-To a municipality for Class I & Class II Water supply property in an amount not to exceed 65% of fair market value
-To a distressed municipality or targeted investment community for open space in an amount not to exceed 75% of fair market value
-To a distressed municipality or targeted investment community for resource enhancement or protection in an amount not to exceed 50% of cost of such work
-To a nonprofit land conservation organization for pen space or watershed protection in an amount not to exceed 65% of fair market value
-To a nonprofit land conservation organization (if land is located within a distressed or targeted community) for open space or watershed protection in an amount not to exceed 75% of fair market value
-To a water company for Class I & Class II water supply property in an amount not to exceed 65% of fair market value

Please note that the percentages shown represent the maximum grant award and that grant awards may be reduced to a lesser percentage or may be reduced to not exceed an administrative cap.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The Department is accepting applications from municipalities, nonprofit land conservation organizations, and water companies for the competitive Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program.

DEEP is also accepting applications from municipalities (often in partnership with nonprofits) under the competitive Urban Green and Community Garden Program.

No grant may be made for: 1) land to be used for commercial purposes or for recreational purposes requiring intensive development except for forest management or agricultural use; 2) land with environmental contamination; 3) land which has already been committed for public use; 4) development costs; 5) land to be acquired by eminent domain; 6) reimbursement of in-kind services or incidental expenses; 7) for property acquired to the grant applicant prior to the grant application deadline.

Pre-Application Information:

The Department will be awarding grants to projects that offer the highest conservation and recreational value - and that leverage the greatest percentage of private and municipal funding.

DEEP is currently accepting applications through February 1, 2018.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

If you have additional questions, please contact:

David Stygar, Environmental Analyst
david.stygar@ct.gov

Allyson Clarke, Property Agent
Allyson.clarke@ct.gov

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

(860) 424-3081 / 424-3774

For application questions regarding conserving a working farm, contact:

Elisabeth Moore, Project Director
Connecticut Farmland Trust
emoore@ctfarmland.org

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Connecticut