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Grants Program and Funding Opportunities for the Hudson River Estuary

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation provides funding through the Hudson River Estuary Grant Program to conduct research and planning or implement programs and projects to help achieve the six benefits outlined in the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda: clean water; resilient communities; a vital estuarine ecosystem; conservation of fish, wildlife and their habitats; waterway access; preservation of the river's natural scenery; and enhanced opportunities for education, river access, recreation, and inspiration. Funding opportunities are announced as Requests for Applications (RFAs) or as Requests for Proposals (RFPs).

Hudson River Estuary Grant Funding Now Available:
'Local Stewardship Planning' and 'River Access and Education' - Deadline June 30, 2016

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced the availability of competitive Hudson River Estuary Grants provided through two RFAs, Local Stewardship Planning and River Access and Education which are separately described below. To view and download each RFA, please visit the NYS Grants Gateway (leaves DEC website) and search for 'Hudson River Estuary'. Descriptions of eligible projects, applications, eligibility requirements, and instructions for registering and prequalifying in the Grants Gateway are included in each RFA. General eligibility requirements are described below. Funding for these grant opportunities is provided by the NYS Environmental Protection Fund, Hudson River Estuary Program.

Local Stewardship Planning

Approximately $450,000 is available for Local Stewardship Planning. The minimum award amount is $10,500 and the maximum award amount is $50,000. This RFA is designed to help local organizations and communities advance six categories of local projects and programs through planning, feasibility studies, and/or design.

Eligible Projects

Aerial viw of Catskill Village
Catskill Village is planning for storm surge and
sea-level rise. Photo: Jeff Anzevino
  • Adapting land uses and decision making to factor in climate change, flooding, and sea-level rise projections in Hudson River shoreline communities.
  • Making water supply and waste-water infrastructure more resilient to flooding and sea-level rise;
  • Use of green infrastructure practices as a means to reduce combined sewer overflows or sanitary sewer overflows;
  • Watershed planning and management within an entire watershed or sub-watershed;
  • Conservation of natural resources by creating a natural resources inventory, open space inventory/index, or open space plan;
  • Planning for conservation and stewardship of natural scenery and natural vistas.

To view the "Local Stewardship Planning" RFA with eligibility requirements, the application, and instructions, please visit NYS Grants Gateway (leaves DEC website) and search for Hudson River Estuary or 'Local Stewardship Planning' (Round 18).

Application Deadline

All applications for "Local Stewardship Planning" must be submitted in the Grants Gateway by 3:00 PM on June 30, 2016. This includes uploading required program documents and forms. Paper applications will NOT be accepted. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications at least two business days in advance of the deadline. Applications received after the deadline will not be eligible for review. Applicants may submit up to 3 applications. However, the applications may not be for the same project or project location. Questions about this grant opportunity will be accepted until close-of-business June 23, 2016.

River Access and Education

Approximately $800,000 is available for in Hudson River Estuary Grants for River Access and Education. The minimum award amount is $10, 500 and the maximum amount is $200,000. This RFA is designed to help local organizations and communities execute quality projects which improve river access and education. Projects may include development of plans, feasibility studies, designs and related permitting, purchase of equipment, development of web sites or mobile phone apps, and/or construction of physical improvements, as described in greater detail below.

Eligible Projects

  • New Hudson River Shoreline Access
    Applicants may apply for projects on the shoreline of the Hudson River estuary to plan, design and/or construct improvements for new access. sites for fishing, swimming, boating and/or wildlife-dependent recreation along the tidal waters of the estuary. Such projects must: (i) utilize the principles of universal design and be consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) , so that people of all abilities can access and enjoy the river; and (ii) be resilient to future storms and sea-level rise.

  • Hudson River Shoreline Access Retrofits
    Applicants may apply for projects on the shoreline of the tidal waters of the Hudson River estuary to design, develop, retrofit, repair, or make improvements to existing river access sites to become more resilient to storm surge and sea-level rise, and/or improve access for people of all abilities on and along the estuary. For projects to improve universal access for people of all abilities, applicants are encouraged to think about all components of accessibility, including accessible bathrooms, picnic tables and signage. Such improvements could include: interpretive signage in a variety of languages or accommodations for the visually impaired; provision and appropriate placement of ADA accessible port-a-potties and associated parking and pathway improvements etc. (For more guidance on ways to improve the accessibility of a site please see "Improving Usability for all Visitors" (link leaves DEC's website)

  • Regional Plans for River Access
    Applicants may apply for plans or designs which provide regional approaches for improving access to the Hudson and/or storm resiliency and/or use for people of all abilities.

  • Hudson River Shoreline Facilities for Education about the Hudson River Estuary
    Applicants may apply for projects on or in sight of the shoreline of the Hudson River estuary to plan, design, equip and/or construct facilities (including signage, exhibits and art installations) to be used for education of families, tourists and residents, so they learn about the estuary and understand its value and the benefits it provides, are encouraged to actively engage in stewardship of the estuary and its watershed or to undertake related citizen science projects.
A kayaker enjoys a quite afternoon on the river
A kayaker enjoys a quiet afternoon on the river.
  • Boats used for education about the River
    Applicants may apply to purchase, construct or repair vessels specifically used as floating classrooms with education programming purposely focused on estuarine ecology, natural history, and water quality, or to purchase, construct, and repair human-powered small craft (canoes, kayaks, rowboats) used to get the public out on the tidal waters of the estuary for that purpose. Education projects should strive to be inclusive of individuals with diverse needs and abilities.

  • Hudson River Education for school groups
    Applicants may apply for projects that improve facilities, exhibits, Web applications for mobile devices, or River access sites in ways that will help school groups learn about the estuary and relevant management issues and engage in stewardship of the estuary and its watershed. Education projects should strive to be inclusive of individuals with diverse needs and abilities.

  • Internet-based learning about the estuary
    Applicants may apply for projects to expand the audience for science-based information about the natural history of the Hudson estuary, promote a natural-history-based sense of place, and create a multiplier effect for learning about the estuary through engaging use of the internet, Web applications for mobile devices, and social media. Education projects should strive to be inclusive of individuals with diverse needs and abilities.

Proposed projects must provide or improve direct access to the tidal waters of the Hudson River Estuary or Upper New York Bay for boating, swimming, fishing, wildlife-related recreation, or to improve estuary-focused education.

To view the River Access and Education RFA with eligibility requirements, application, and instructions, please visit the NYS Grants Gateway (leaves DEC website) and search for Hudson River Estuary, 'River Access and Education' (Round 19).

Application Deadline

Applications for River Access and Education must be submitted in the Grants Gateway by 3:00 PM on June 30, 2016. This includes uploading required program documents and forms. Paper applications will NOT be accepted. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications at least two business days in advance of the deadline. Applicants may submit up to 3 applications. However, the applications may not be for the same project or project location. Questions about this grant opportunity will be accepted until close-of-business June 23, 2016.

Who may apply?

Eligible applicants include government entities, municipalities, and quasi-governmental entities(counties, cities, towns, villages, municipal corporations, soil and water conservation districts, school districts, community colleges, etc.) and not-for-profit corporations with a 501(c)(3) designation. Projects eligible for state assistance must be located within the Hudson River estuary geographic boundaries.

How Do I Apply?

All New York State (NYS) grant applicants - both governmental and 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations - must be registered in the NYS Grants Gateway (leaves DEC's website) to be eligible to apply for any NYS grant opportunity.

Not-For-Profit applicants must prequalify in the Grants Gateway system prior to the application deadline to be considered eligible to apply for a grant. Registration and prequalification must be completed online at the NYS Grants Gateway (leaves DEC's website).

Questions and Answers

Questions about registration and prequalification through the Grants Gateway should be directed to GrantsReform@Budget.ny.gov. Step-by-step tutorials and guides to registration and prequalification are available at the NYS Grants Gateway (leaves DEC's website). Questions about Local
Stewardship Planning
and River Access and Education must be received by COB June 23, 2016. All applicants' questions, and answers to these questions, will be posted in the New York State Grants Gateway for all applicants to review. Direct questions to the contact below:

Susan Pepe
Grants Manager
NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-3506
HrepGrants@dec.ny.gov

Grants Program History

Grants for Local Partners

Since 1999, New York State DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program has offered grants to municipalities and non-profits located within its Estuary Watershed Boundaries (PDF) (1.6 MB). Over the past decade over $11.5 million has been distributed to 342 applicants. The funding for this program is from New York State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).

The Estuary Grants were created to help fulfill those goals of the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda that can be implemented most effectively by municipalities, not for profits, and other local partners.

Free kayak program at the 72nd Street boat dock
The creation of this dock for the 72nd Street
free kayak program that serves more than
8,000 people every year was made possible
through an Estuary Program Grant
Past Recipients and Their Projects