The North Shore Land Alliance was awarded two prestigious grants totaling $29,000 from the Land Trust Alliance/New York State Conservation Partnership Program
(Albany, NY) - The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Land Trust Alliance (the Alliance) joined members of the State Legislature and land trust representatives today to announce $1.4 million in New York State Conservation Partnership Program (CPP) grants. The grants, funded through New York State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), will enable local nonprofit land trusts to increase the pace, improve the quality, and ensure the permanence of voluntary conservation of private lands, resulting in significant environmental and economic benefits for communities across the state.
The North Shore Land Alliance was awarded two of these prestigious grants. The first was for a $5,000 guided organizational assessment based on Land Trust Standards and Practices. The second grant was for $24,000 for the organization of the 2011 and 2012 Small Farm Summit project, a two-year initiative to connect land and people through sustainable agriculture.
"The CPP advances Governor Cuomo's agenda for A Cleaner, Greener New York," said Joe Martens, DEC Commissioner. "New York State's financial support for the Partnership Program is critical to the important work of land trusts who, in partnership with communities across New York, provide vital protection of open space for its environmental and economic value."
"New York State has demonstrated its support of local land trusts and their vital mission to save the places New Yorkers cherish and depend on for clean air and water, food, and recreation," said Rand Wentworth, President of the Land Trust Alliance. "I commend Governor Cuomo, Commissioner Martens, Senator Grisanti, Assemblyman Sweeney, and other members of the Legislature for their support of this pioneering initiative. The EPF and the CPP are cost effective investments that pay dividends for public health and New York's economy."
The competitive state grants announced on March 14th will be matched by more than $1.82 million in private and local funding. Since the its inception in 2002, the CPP has leveraged over $12 million in additional funding, creating employment and advancement opportunities in the conservation field and helping local communities permanently conserve approximately 15,000 acres of farmland, wildlife habitat, recreation areas, and urban open space.
Since 2002, the CPP has awarded matching grants for 350 projects benefiting 75 different land trust organizations across the state. The grants announced today will help local land trusts sustain and expand community and landowner outreach, land conservation, stewardship, and education programs. They will create new land trust jobs and strengthen partnerships with local and state governments, advancing efforts to preserve prime farmland, municipal watersheds, and green infrastructure around the state. Funds will also support New York land trusts' preparation for national accreditation, supporting their commitment to best practices and rigorous standards for organizational excellence.
Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), Chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, who was introduced by Lisa Ott, President of the North Shore Land Alliance, remarked, "This is a challenging time for homeowners, charities, and businesses across New York State. Empowering local communities through the CPP is one proven way to give New York's citizens a voice in their future. It is also an effective way for New York to get the most out of the EPF. We applaud the work land trusts do on Long Island and across the state and look forward to supporting the program in the coming years."
Recent research underscores how investments in land conservation and open space boost property values, support local businesses, save taxpayer dollars, and protect public health, for example, by preserving watersheds and aquifers that provide clean drinking water for millions of New Yorkers. A report last year from the Trust for Public Land found that parks and open space on Long Island generate $2.74 billion in direct economic benefit from tourism, reduced government costs, and public health. A 2010 report from the New York State Comptroller recommended the CPP as a model for public-private collaboration because it leverages substantial resources for local efforts to preserve clean air and water resources, agriculture, and outdoor recreational opportunities close to home.
In all, 57 nonprofit land trusts across New York will receive grant funds announced today, including the North Shore Land Alliance, Hudson Highlands Land Trust, Columbia Land Conservancy, New York Agricultural Land Trust, Finger Lakes Land Trust, Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust, Genesee Land Trust, and Western New York Land Conservancy. Grant funds are intended to assist land trusts in advancing goals set in the New York State Open Space Plan and state wildlife action plan. The grants will also support urban open space programs.
More than 150 land trust representatives and environmental advocates were on hand for the announcement, held in conjunction with the Friends of New York's Environment Lobby Day in the State Capitol. Earlier in the morning, land trust leaders thanked Governor Andrew Cuomo for avoiding additional cuts to the EPF in his proposed Executive Budget. Environmental leaders urged the Legislature to consider the economic benefit of EPF investments in local communities, including projects funded through the CPP.
About the North Shore Land Alliance
The North Shore Land Alliance is a 501c3 non-profit land trust formed to protect and preserve, in perpetuity, the green spaces, farmlands, wetlands, groundwater, and historical sites of Long Island's North Shore for the enjoyment and benefit of future generations and the protection and enhancement of quality of life.
For more information, please contact the North Shore Land Alliance at (516) 626-0908 or view their website at www.northshorelandalliance.org.