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New York State Conservation Partnership Program

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) awarded Conservation Partnership Program grants totaling $1.8 million to 58 nonprofit land trusts across the state, DEC and the Land Trust Alliance (link leaves DEC website) announced on April 26, 2017, at a news conference at Winter Hill in Garrison in Putnam County as part of DEC's weeklong celebration of Earth Day. The grants, funded through the state's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), will be matched by $1.5 million in private and local funding.

The Conservation Partnership Program grants will help local land trusts sustain and expand community and landowner outreach initiatives and develop an array of conservation, stewardship and education programs. The grants will advance regional economic development goals by strengthening partnerships with local and state governments and advancing locally supported efforts to protect prime farmland, enhance public access and recreation opportunities, and conserve private lands prioritized in the New York State's Open Space Conservation Plan and state wildlife action plan. Land trusts will also apply grant funds to prepare for accreditation, supporting New York land trust commitments to rigorous national standards for organizational excellence.

Program Summary

Created in 2002, the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) is a public-private partnership between DEC and the Alliance that invests in New York land trusts. Grants are funded through the NYS Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) annually. The NYSCPP is managed by the Land Trust Alliance in coordination with DEC.

Since the program's inception in 2002, the Conservation Partnership Program has awarded over 750 grants totaling $14.9 million in EPF funds to 87 different land trust organizations across the state. The state's investment has leveraged over $17 million in additional funding from local communities and private donors. The funds have helped create employment and advancement opportunities in the conservation field and helped local communities permanently conserve more than 27,477 acres of farmland, wildlife habitat, recreation areas and urban open space.

Program Funding

$1.8 million was available for 2016-17 NYSCPP grants from the 2015-16 and 2016-17 EPF. Grants were awarded in four categories: Professional Development, Conservation Catalyst, Conservation Transaction, and Conservation Capacity & Excellence.

Match Requirement

Conservation Catalyst Grants, Conservation Transaction Grants, and Professional Development Grants require 25% (or 1:3) matching funds requirement of non-state funds.

Each Capacity & Excellence Grant has a different match requirement. Capacity Grants, 25% (or 1:3) matching funds requirement of non-state funds; Assessment Grants, costs co-payment of $500; and Stewardship Grants have no match requirement.

Conservation Partnership Program Grants require that the applicant land trust match the grant with non-State funds. Matching funds must be verifiable at the time of application (full-proposal stage for Professional Development Grants). Documentation of matching funds is required before funding for awarded projects can be disbursed.

In-kind match contributions must be documented and may include: donation of professional services (legal, facilitation, etc. as well as the donation of travel costs from that individual), donation of goods (meeting rooms, equipment, printing costs, food or refreshments), and the donation of unskilled/ general labor from volunteers (trail work, easement stewardship and monitoring, administrative work). Volunteer services must be quantifiable and the land trust needs to have a way of tracking volunteer hours. The rate per hour must adhere to the national standard for New York which can be found at the link in the right column of this page.

Program Eligibility Requirements/Restrictions

Conservation Catalyst Grants, Capacity & Excellence Grants, and the Conservation Transaction Grants:

  • Applicant is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Applicant is a qualified conservation organization under Section 170 (h) of the Internal Revenue Code and has a stated land conservation mission.
  • Applicant has formally adopted Land Trust Standards and Practices.
  • Applicant's service area is located within the State of New York. Transaction project and all grant funded project costs must be based in New York State.
  • Applicant is in good standing and has submitted all required Interim and Final Grant Performance reports due for previously awarded NYSCPP projects, unless an extension has been formally requested and granted in writing by the Land Trust Alliance.
  • Applicant meets matching requirements and matching funds are verifiable at the time of application. For more information on matching funds, see below.

Membership in the Land Trust Alliance is not an eligibility requirement.

Professional Development Grants:

All of the same requirements as above plus:

  • Applicant has fewer than seven (7) full time equivalent (FTE) staff.
  • Organizations with more than seven (7) FTE may be considered on a case by case basis and should specifically focus their staff capacity expansion toward delivery of enhanced services to communities and/or land trusts within their service area.

How to Apply:

Grants have been awarded for the current grant round. Please check back periodically for updates on future grant availability.

Please see the Land Trust Alliance New York grants webpage (leaves DEC website) for grant applications, program updates and announcements.

For information regarding this grant program you may contact:

Ethan Winter (ewinter@lta.org) or Katrina Howey (khowey@lta.org) in the Land Trust Alliance Northeast Office at (518) 587-0774.

Application Deadlines and Notification

All final applications for the 2016-2017 Conservation Partnership Program must be submitted by Friday, December 9, 2016 at 5:00 PM Eastern time. Professional Development Grant Letters of Interest must be submitted by Friday, October 14, 2016.

Those land trusts submitting a Professional Development Letter of Interest will be notified by mid-November if they are going to be invited to submit a full application.


More about New York State Conservation Partnership Program:

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    Albany, NY 12233
    518-402-9405
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