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Grants Program and Funding Opportunities for the Hudson River Estuary

Funding Opportunities through the Hudson River Estuary Program

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation provides funding through the Hudson River Estuary Program to implement priorities outlined in the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda aimed at conserving or improving clean water; fish, wildlife and their habitats; waterway access; the resiliency of communities; and river scenery. These opportunities are announced as Hudson River Estuary Grants Program Request for Applications (RFAs) or as New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission Request for Proposals (RFPs). Funding for these grant opportunities is provided by the NYS Environmental Protection Fund.

Three RFAs Now Available: Local Stewardship Planning (deadline July 11); River Access (deadline August 22); and River Education (deadline August 22).

Local Stewardship Planning

Approximately $350,000 is now available for Local Stewardship Planning. This Request For Applications (RFA) will help Hudson River Estuary watershed communities and organizations design projects to increase resiliency to flooding, protect water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and natural resources. The minimum award amount is $10,500 and the maximum award amount is $50,000.

Eligible Projects

Image of three people taking part in Local Stewardship Planning

Local organizations and communities may apply to advance five categories of projects and programs through planning, feasibility studies, and/or design:

  1. Adapting land uses and decision-making to factor in climate change, flooding, heat, drought, and sea-level rise projections in Hudson River shoreline communities.
  2. Making water infrastructure more resilient to flooding and/or sea-level rise;
  3. Using green infrastructure practices as a means to reduce combined sewer overflows;
  4. Watershed and source water management planning
  5. Creating a natural resources inventory, open space inventory/index, open space plan, or open space funding feasibility study.

Local Stewardship Application and Deadline

To view and apply to the "Local Stewardship Planning" RFA (includes 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 24).

All applications for "Local Stewardship Planning" must be submitted in the Grants Gateway by 3:00 PM on July 11, 2018, including uploading required program documents and forms. 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. For more information see Who May Apply below.

Questions about this grant opportunity will be accepted until close-of-business July 5, 2018. All questions and answers will be posted continuously in the New York State Grants Gateway for all applicants to review. Questions should be directed to Susan Pepe at HREPgrants@dec.ny.gov.

River Access

Approximately $950,000 is available in the "River Access" Request for Applications (RFA) for projects along the shoreline of the Hudson estuary that provide new or improved accessibility at access sites for boating, fishing, swimming, and/or wildlife-dependent recreation. This funding is from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and the Natural Resources Damages Fund (NRD). The deadline for applications is August 22, 2018.

Two separate applications are available under this RFA:
  1. Hudson River Estuary Access: Application No. DEC01-HRER26-2018 must be used for projects in the Hudson River Estuary, in locations that do not include the Village of Sleepy Hollow or the Village of Tarrytown.


  1. Villages of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown: Application No. DEC01-NRD26-2018 must be used for projects in the Village of Sleepy Hollow and Village of Tarrytown in the Hudson River Estuary that propose funding from the Natural Resource Damages (NRD) Fund.
Projects eligible for Hudson River Estuary Access: EPF, $200,000

Funding is available for the following project types to improve access to the tidal waters of the Hudson. It may be used to support development of plans, purchase of equipment, and/or construction of physical improvements. The minimum grant award is $10,500 and the maximum grant amount is $50,000.

  • New Hudson River Shoreline Access including the tidal portion of its tributaries, to plan, design and/or construct improvements for new access sites for fishing, swimming, boating and/or wildlife-dependent recreation.
  • Hudson River Shoreline Access Retrofits for projects to improve existing access to the Hudson River estuary to make more resilient to erosion, tidal flooding, and sea-level rise; and to improve access for people of all abilities for boating, fishing, swimming, and/or wildlife-related recreation or educational interpretation of the estuary.
  • Assessing and Planning for Accessibility Improvements for projects that propose ADA designs, plans, assessments and ADA transition planning for existing access sites along the Hudson River estuary.
  • Regional Plans for River Access that propose plans or designs, or development of handbooks, for improving access to the Hudson River Estuary and/or storm resiliency and/or use for people of all abilities.
Projects Eligible for the Villages of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown: NRD, $750,000

Funding from the Natural Resource Damages Fund is available for projects on publicly accessible lands in the Village of Sleepy Hollow and Village of Tarrytown. Projects funded by NRD may include planning, but also must include a shovel-ready component. The minimum grant amount is $10,500 maximum grant amount is $375,000.

  • New Hudson River Shoreline Access including the tidal portion of its tributaries, to plan, design and/or construct improvements for new access sites for fishing, swimming, boating and/or wildlife-dependent recreation.
  • Hudson River Shoreline Access Retrofits for projects to improve existing access to the Hudson River estuary to make more resilient to erosion, tidal flooding, and sea-level rise; and to improve access for people of all abilities for boating, fishing, swimming, and/or wildlife-related recreation or educational interpretation of the estuary.

River Access Application and Deadline

To view and apply to the "River Access" RFA (includes eligibility requirements, the application, and instructions) visit NYS Grants Gateway (leaves DEC website) and search for Hudson River Estuary, 'River Access'. Select either Hudson River Estuary, Application No. DEC01-HRER26-2018; or Village of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, Application No. DEC01-NRD26-2018, Round 26.

All applications for "River Access" must be submitted in the Grants Gateway by 3:00 PM on August 22, 2018, including uploading required program documents and forms. 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 2 applications. However, the applications may not be for the same project or project location, except for NRD-funded projects. For more information see Who May Apply below.

Questions about this grant opportunity will be accepted until close-of-business August 15, 2018. All questions and answers will be posted continuously in the New York State Grants Gateway for all applicants to review. Questions should be directed to Susan Pepe at HREPgrants@dec.ny.gov.

River Education

Approximately $165,000 is available in the "River Education" RFA to support projects and plans to enhance education about the estuary along the tidal waters of the Hudson and make opportunities to learn about the Hudson River Estuary more accessible to a wide-range of people. The deadline for applications is August 22, 2018 at 3 p.m.

Projects Eligible for River Education

Funding from the EPF is available to support development of plans or curriculum, purchase of equipment, development of web sites or mobile phone apps, and/or construction of physical improvements. The minimum award amount is $10,500 and the maximum amount is $40,000.

  • Hudson River shoreline facilities for education about the Hudson River Estuary to plan, design, equip and/or construct facilities (including signage, exhibits and river-focused art installations) to be used for education of students, families, tourists and residents.
  • Resources for education about the Hudson River Estuary including equipment, materials, transportation equipment, or other capital investments that will be used to help students, families, tourists and residents, learn about the estuary.
  • Boats used for education about the River to purchase, construct or repair vessels specifically used as floating classrooms; or to purchase, construct, or repair human-powered small craft (canoes, kayaks, rowboats) used to get the public out on the tidal waters of the estuary.
  • Internet-based learning about the Estuary for projects that use the internet, web applications for mobile devices, and social media to expand the audience for science-based information about the natural history of the Hudson estuary.
  • Curriculum development to create new curriculum, improve, or build on existing curriculum linked to the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda.

River Education Application and Deadline

To view and apply to the "River Education" RFA (includes eligibility requirements, the application, and instructions) please visit NYS Grants Gateway (leaves DEC website) and search for Hudson River Estuary or ' River Education' (Round 25).

All applications for "River Education" must be submitted in the Grants Gateway by 3:00 PM on August 22, 2018, including uploading required program documents and forms. 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 2 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 August 15, 2018. All questions and answers will be posted continuously in the New York State Grants Gateway for all applicants to review. Questions should be directed to Susan Pepe at HREPgrants@dec.ny.gov.

Who May Apply?

Eligible applicants for Local Stewardship Planning, River Access, and River Education include governmental entities, municipalities, and quasi-governmental entities (a local public authority or public benefit corporation, a county, city, town, village, or Indian tribe or nation residing within New York State, municipal corporations, soil and water conservation districts, school districts, community colleges, or any combination thereof), and not-for-profit corporations with a 501(c)(3) designation. Projects eligible for state assistance must be located within the Estuary Watershed Boundaries (PDF, 1.6 MB). To find out if your project is located within these boundaries, please type the location of the project into this Hudson River Estuary Grant Program boundaries Google Earth map.

Register to 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).

NYS Grants Gateway Questions

Questions about registration and prequalification through the Grants Gateway should be directed to GrantsReform@its.ny.gov. Step-by-step tutorials and guides to registration and prequalification are available at the NYS Grants Gateway (leaves DEC's website).

General Questions

Questions about the Estuary Grants Program should be directed 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). More than $19.4 million had been distributed to 495 applicants as of year's end, 2017. The funding for this program is primarily 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