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Grants to California Nonprofits, Agencies, and Tribes for Conservation Activities

Strategic Land Conservation Grant Program

GrantWatch ID# 202363
Agency: State

Funding Source
Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC)
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: California: Sierra Nevada Conservancy Region

Important Dates
Deadline: 03/20/23 5:00 PM Save

Grant Description
Grants to California nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and tribes for planning and implementation activities related to conservation. Applicants are required to contact the funding source prior to submitting a full grant application. Eligible projects must be located within the Sierra Nevada Conservancy Region.

The SNC is administering the Strategic Land Conservation Directed Grant Program to support land conservation projects that improve public access and protect lands threatened by conversion to development, particularly lands with significant cultural or natural values and those that provide critical resilience to climate change. Planning and implementation projects for both fee title and conservation easement acquisition are eligible.

The WIP Strategic Land Conservation Directed Grant Program conserves lands through the planning and implementation of fee title and conservation easement acquisitions. Acquisitions should aim to protect, restore, or create one or more of the priorities below:

  • Important natural lands and expand connectivity and potential for adaptation to climate change
  • Climate resilience by protecting and stewarding key landscapes that store carbon, improve water availability, and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire
  • Protect and steward water resources, including watersheds, riparian areas, wetlands, and headwaters
  • Unique cultural and/or natural areas
  • Land of special significance to a Native American tribe
  • Working landscapes including farms, ranches, and forests to help local economies
  • Access to public lands and recreation opportunities

To be eligible, projects must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be located within the Sierra Nevada Conservancy Region.
  • Be consistent with the SNC mission and program areas as defined in the SNC Strategic Plan and the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP).
  • Result in a clear, demonstrable, and enduring public benefit.
  • Engage willing sellers only.
  • Be consistent with applicable city or county General Plan.

The Strategic Land Conservation Grant Program supports planning projects and implementation projects, as described below. Each project proposal must identify whether it is a planning or implementation project; the project types may not be combined.

  • Planning Projects: Planning projects are limited to pre-project activities necessary for a specific future land conservation acquisition. Activities include the required due diligence to complete a specific land conservation acquisition as described under implementation projects. The property or rights to be acquired must be identified, and a letter of intent from the willing seller must be presented. Planning project proposals must demonstrate the feasibility and likelihood that the planning phase will lead to a completed future acquisition.
  • Implementation Projects: Implementation projects should complete a fee-title or conservation easement acquisition, including those which provide access for public use or to public lands. Grant deliverables should include a completed acquisition. Implementation projects should have all due diligence, including a current appraisal, complete at the time of application. However, the completion of a Baseline Conditions Report and Phase I Environmental Site Assessment are eligible activities under implementation grants, as well as planning grants.

For examples of eligible projects, see:

For information on eligible costs, see:


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Grant funds may be authorized for:
• Public agencies: Any city, county, special district, joint powers authority, state agency, or federal agency.
• Qualifying 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations: “Nonprofit Organization" means a private, nonprofit organization that qualifies for exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code, and whose charitable purposes are consistent with the purposes of the SNC.
• Eligible Tribal Entities: An Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, or a tribal agency authorized by a tribe, which is one or both of the following: (1) Recognized by the United States and identified within the most current Federal Register; (2) Listed on the contact list maintained by the Native American Heritage Commission as a California Native American tribe.

Eligible tribal entities are encouraged to apply. On September 25, 2020, the governor released a Statement of Administration Policy on Native American Ancestral Lands to encourage every state agency, department, board, and commission subject to his executive control to seek opportunities to support California tribes’ co-management of and access to natural lands that are within a California tribe’s ancestral land and under the ownership or control of the State of California.

Additional Geographic Information:

Sierra Nevada Conservancy Region map:

NOTE: The SNC’s governing statute does not allow grants to mutual water companies.

Examples of ineligible projects include:
- Grants to service or repay loans
- Projects dictated by a legal settlement or mandated to address a violation of, or an order (citation) to comply with, a law or regulation
- Projects for negotiations only
- Long-term management of conserved lands
- Research, education, outreach, or event-related projects, although these types of activities may be included as a small part of the overall implementation of a project eligible for SNC grant funds

This list is not exhaustive and is offered only as guidance to potential applicants. The SNC will make determinations of eligibility on a project-by-project basis.

Examples of ineligible costs include, but are not limited to:
• Establishing or increasing a legal defense fund or endowment
• Monetary donations to other organizations
• Food or refreshments not part of traveling expenses
• Costs associated with fundraising
• Grant writing expenses
• Any expenses incurred before a grant agreement is executed or after the project completion deadline, as identified in the grant agreement

NOTE: If a proposal contains ineligible costs, SNC will consult with the applicant to confirm viability of project if those costs are removed from the budget.

Pre-Application Information
Now accepting proposals, due by 5pm on March 20, 2023.

Projects must be developed in collaboration with SNC. Contact your SNC Area Representative to discuss project ideas.

Contact Information
Contact your SNC Area Representative to discuss project ideas:

Questions should be directed at the local SNC Area Representative listed above.

Sierra Nevada Conservancy
11521 Blocker Drive, Suite 205
Auburn, CA 95603
(530) 823-4670

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