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New York State Conservation Partnership Program

2020 Grant Awards

DEC and the Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America, have awarded more than $2.2 million in Conservation Partnership Program grants to 50 nonprofit land trusts across the state for 69 projects.

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 farmland, enhance public access and recreation opportunities, and conserve private lands prioritized in 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 Land Trust Alliance (leaves DEC website) 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, a non-profit land conservation organization, in coordination with DEC.

As of the 2020 grant award announcement, NYSCPP has awarded 997 grants totaling $21.7 million to 91 different land trusts since the program's start. Cumulatively, the state's investment has leveraged $23.8 million in additional funding from local and private sources.

The funds have helped create employment and advancement opportunities in the conservation field and helped local communities permanently conserve more than 36,000 acres of farmland, wildlife habitat, recreation areas, and urban open space.

Program Funding

$2.25 million was available for 2019-20 NYSCPP grants from the 2018-19 and 2019-20 EPF. Grants were awarded in five categories: Professional Development, Conservation Catalyst, Conservation Transaction, Stewardship and Resource Management, and Conservation Capacity & Excellence.

Match Requirement

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

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 (leaves DEC website).

Program Eligibility Requirements/Restrictions

Conservation Catalyst Grants, Capacity & Excellence Grants, Stewardship and Resource Management, 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.

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: Meme Hanley ( or Katrina Howey ( in the Land Trust Alliance Northeast Office at (518) 587-0774.

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