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Chesapeake Bay Watershed Grant Program

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Grant Program for Riparian Buffer Protection and Restoration grants are announced!

On July 14, 2017, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced a total of $992,864 in grants to restore riparian buffers and protect water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Grant funding will support programs to permanently protect riparian buffers through land acquisition and conservation easements.

Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District, $669,620

The Upper Susquehanna Coalition (USC) via the Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District will implement a restoration program composed of multiple riparian buffer and stream bank stabilization projects. Projects will restore approximately 80 acres of riparian buffer and 350 linear feet of stream bank along Mud Creek in Birdseye Hollow State Forest and in the Lower Butternut Creek watershed in Otsego County.

Edward L. Rose Conservancy, $199,032

The Edward L. Rose Conservancy will implement a protection and restoration program to establish perpetual conservation easements on 28 acres of riparian buffers in Broome and Tioga counties. Restoration work will be completed through a partnership with Trout Unlimited.

Finger Lakes Land Trust, $124,212

The Finger Lakes Land Trust will implement a protection program to permanently protect 69 acres of existing riparian buffer habitat in the Susquehanna watershed using a combination of fee-simple land acquisition and perpetual conservation easements.

Funding for the grants is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and administered by DEC's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program.

Program Overview

DEC has made up to $1 million available in Round 1 for the protection and restoration of riparian buffers in the New York portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The program is a competitive, reimbursement grant program. Grants awarded through this program will support local land stewardship programs to purchase land or conservation easements that will permanently protect riparian corridors. Funding is also available to cover expenses related to restoration of riparian buffers. Grants awarded through this program can fund up to 100% of the total project cost (no match required).

Eligible Applicants

  • Not-for-Profit Land Trusts
  • Municipalities
  • Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Eligible Project Types

Program Type Protection Restoration
A New Easement/New Land Purchase Restoration Needed
B Existing Easement/Property Owned by Applicant Restoration Needed
C New Easement/New Land Purchase No Restoration Needed (Existing Riparian Buffer)

Grants Gateway Registration

  • All municipalities and soil and water conservation districts must register in the NYS Grants Gateway System (leaves DEC's website) to be eligible for this grant.
  • All not-for-profits must register and prequalify in the NYS Grants Gateway System (leaves DEC's website) to be eligible for this grant.

Successful Applicant Requirements

Successful applicants will be required to sign a State of New York Master Contract for Grants (MCG) within the NYS Grants Gateway System (leaves DEC's website) and will be required to comply with statewide, agency and program terms and conditions, and payment reporting requirements as identified in the MCG. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Grant Program MCG is available for review.

For more information, including user guides and tutorial videos on how to register and prequalify, visit NYS Grants Reform (leaves DEC's website).


All program questions should be submitted via e-mail to Include "Chesapeake Bay Grant Program" in the subject line. Questions about Round 1 of this grant opportunity will be accepted until March 31, 2017.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Collaborative Partner or Multi-Partner Program?

A multi-partner program is a proposed program that involves one or more partner to the lead applicant. A partner may be responsible for part of the implementation of the program under the direction of the lead applicant. Only the lead applicant is responsible for submission of the application, performance of work consistent with the RFA, and the State of New York Master Contract for Grants. A letter substantiating the collaboration is required from each partner as part of the application for funding and must be uploaded to the Grants Gateway.

  • Can a collaborative partner have access to and edit an application in the Grants Gateway?

Yes, a collaborative partner can access and edit an application in the Grants Gateway. The collaborative partner must be registered in the Grants Gateway and assigned the appropriate role. For assistance with the Grants Gateway, please contact the Help Desk at or 518-474-5595.

  • Can a contractor of the grantee subcontract to a third party?

Yes, a contractor of the grantee can subcontract services to a third party in order to complete tasks in the grant workplan. The subcontractor is responsible for issuing their own binding legal agreement with a third party contractor. DEC may check the Office of the State Comptroller Vendor Responsibly System (VendRep) to insure that all subcontractors are reputable. The grantee is responsible for reporting progress on any tasks completed by a subcontractor. More information about the VendRep system, can be found on the Office of the State Comptroller's website (leaves DEC's website).

  • Can restoration be performed on properties owned by New York State?

Yes, restoration activities on state-owned properties can be funded under Program Type B - "Restoration of Riparian Buffers on Protected Land" as long as the project is wholly contained within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. An applicant must receive an endorsement letter from a regional DEC Forester. Contact information for regional forestry offices can be found on DEC's Regional Office Directory webpage.

  • Can I pay more than fair market value for a land or easement purchase?

Yes, applicants can pay more than fair market value for land or easement purchases. Applicants must provide written justification explaining why they must pay more than fair market value for a land acquisition project (i.e. offsetting loss of agricultural income) and will be scored accordingly in the "cost effectiveness" category.

  • I have started work on the program prior to submitting an application for funding. Can I be reimbursed for that work?

No, only activities that take place after the execution of a State of New York Master Contract for Grants are eligible for reimbursement. Applicants should not begin work or incur costs until after the full execution of a contract with the State.

  • My organization's office is not located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Can I still submit an application for funding?

Yes, an organization's office does not have to be located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to apply for funding. All projects completed under a program that receives funding through this grant opportunity must be wholly located within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

  • I would like to purchase a whole property easement (50 acres) that includes a riparian area (10 acres). Can I apply for funding for the whole property?

No, funding can only be used towards the value of the easement acreage that contains the riparian buffer area (10 acres). However, transactional costs to acquire the whole property, as long as the whole property contains a riparian area, are reimbursable under this grant opportunity. Eligible transactional costs are listed under "Program Expenditures" in the RFA.

  • Are buffer maintenance activities an eligible program expenditure?

Yes, costs related to maintenance of buffers newly established using funding through this grant program are eligible and considered a restoration cost. Maintenance costs associated with existing buffers or buffers restored under another program are not eligible.

  • What is the buffer establishment period?

The establishment period is define as 3-5 years after the initial buffer planting.

  • Can I apply for more than one project in an application?

Yes, multiple projects/ land parcels can be funded under one application. There is no limit to the number of projects/land parcels per application, as long as the total project costs do not exceed the maximum grant award of $1 million.

NYS Grants Gateway Training Webinar

This webinar (leaves DEC's website) will walk you through the Grants Gateway application process for the Chesapeake Bay Water Grant Program. For assistance with the Grants Gateway, please contact the Grants Gateway Help Desk at or 518-474-5595.

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