ALTAMONT, N.Y. (AP) — Conservation officials announced Thursday they have awarded $1.4 million in grants to 50 nonprofit land trusts around the state.
The Environmental Protection Fund grants are expected to generate $1.1 million in matching private and local funds to protect farmland, conserve open space and improve public access and recreation. Projects include urban trails and community gardens in New York City, Kingston and Buffalo.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said the DEC’s partnerships with land trusts “are crucial to achieving our conservation goals.” The state’s Conservation Partnership Program, which began in 2002, has awarded more than 570 grants for $9.5 million to 85 land trust organizations, leveraging about $11 million more from local communities and private donors.
The nonprofit Land Trust Alliance administers the program in coordination with the DEC. Grants announced Thursday range from $2,450 to $75,000. Most are for program development, planning, training and staff.
Regionally, 22 awards total $425,300 for the Hudson Valley, with 14 for $349,650 in the greater Albany area and 11 totaling $307,700 in northern New York.
Democratic State Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, whose district includes part of the Albany area, said land trusts help preserve and protect open spaces, scenic areas, wetlands and historic sites throughout the state.
“That’s good for our environment,” she said, “but it’s also good for our economy, because New York’s history, natural beauty and recreational attractions bring thousands of tourists here each year.”
Another nine grants total $145,800 for western New York, the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier, with $81,000 for three in New York City, two for $78,000 in central New York and one for $30,000 on Long Island.
State officials on Thursday also announced $621,500 in grant funding has been made available for conservation projects along the Hudson River Estuary such as removing barriers from tributaries and improving disabled access for recreation.
Separately, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state will review Long Island’s need to protect its groundwater, including the aquifer that supplies 2.5 million state residents, against pollution and storms.
Land trust grants: