May 2, 2016 NYS Environmental Protection Fund Grants Announced: LGLC Awarded Funds to Help Protect Lake George
For Immediate Release: May 2, 2016
Bolton Landing, NY – The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) has been awarded $39,000 in grants from the Conservation Partnership Program, administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Land Trust Alliance. The LGLC was one of only 55 nonprofit land trusts across New York State to receive grants, totaling $1.8 million.
The grant funds will help the land trust complete more land conservation projects around Lake George that will protect the lake’s water quality, create recreational opportunities, preserve threatened habitat, maintain popular viewsheds, contribute to the local economy, and sustain community and historical resources. The funding comes at an opportune time, as the LGLC is considering how to make a greater impact through preserving the lake by protecting the land that surrounds it.
“We are grateful to the Land Trust Alliance and the DEC for supporting our efforts to protect Lake George through the Conservation Partnership Program,” said LGLC Executive Director Jamie Brown. “Our staff worked hard to secure this funding, and these awards reflect our ongoing efforts to think more strategically about how we can more effectively go about our business of land protection. These grants will allow us to continue our important work of protecting the land that keeps the pristine waters of the lake clean and beautiful.”
“We also applaud NYS Senator Betty Little and NYS Assemblyman Dan Stec for supporting the historic $300 million budget for the Environmental Protection Fund, which funds the Conservation Partnership Program,” continued Brown. “This program provides critical funds for many land trusts statewide, and this budget increase will strengthen land protection and outreach programs at Lake George and throughout the State.”
On April 19, the DEC announced $1.8 million in Conservation Partnership Program grants for 55 nonprofit land trusts across the State. Representatives of the DEC and the Land Trust Alliance unveiled the grantees at an event in Skaneateles, in Onondaga County, in recognition of Earth Week, a weeklong celebration of New York’s commitment and accomplishments to protecting our environment, conserving open space and increasing access to the state’s vast and magnificent natural resources.
“Land trusts continue to make a difference in local communities, maximizing public and private dollars to protect and preserve our state’s natural resources for generations to come,” said Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Through partnerships like these, the Environmental Protection Fund provides critical support for many environmental and open space programs, generating revenue, creating jobs, and ensuring a cleaner and healthier New York.”
The grants, funded through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), will leverage an additional $2.25 million in private and local funding to support projects that will protect farmland, wildlife habitat and water quality, enhance public access for outdoor recreational opportunities, and conserve priority open space areas important for community health, tourism and regional economic development. The Land Trust Alliance administers the Conservation Partnership Program in coordination with DEC.
“DEC’s work with land trusts is essential in our efforts to conserve and protect New York’s valuable natural resources and this program is a clear example of the partnerships that have made a difference in preserving open space,” Seggos said. “Governor Cuomo’s historic $300 million budget for the Environmental Protection Fund, will help support the work of the state’s Land Trusts to be effective stewards of important habitats in the state for generations to come.”
The 13th round of Conservation Partnership Program grants, administered by DEC, will help local land trusts sustain and expand community and landowner outreach initiatives and develop an array of land conservation, stewardship and education programs.
The grants will further regional economic development goals by strengthening partnerships with local and state governments and advancing locally supported efforts to protect working farms, 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 national accreditation, supporting New York land trust commitments to rigorous national standards for nonprofit governance and organizational excellence.
“This pioneering initiative enables land trusts, local communities and private landowners to better protect New York’s most important water resources, farmland, wildlife habitat and urban green space such as community gardens,” said Andrew Bowman, president of the Land Trust Alliance. “We also applaud New York’s tremendous progress in strengthening the Environmental Protection Fund in this year’s state budget. Individually and together, these are smart investments promoting healthy communities, strategic land conservation and environmental stewardship. On behalf of the Land Trust Alliance and its supporters, I thank Governor Cuomo, Acting Commissioner Seggos and the New York State Legislature.”
Since the program’s inception in 2002, the Conservation Partnership Program has awarded over 700 grants totaling $13.1 million in EPF funds to 86 different land trust organizations across the state. The state’s investment has leveraged over $15 million in additional funding from local communities and private donors.
The 2016-17 State Budget includes appropriations of $300 million for the EPF, the highest level of funding in the program’s history and an increase of $123 million from FY 2015-16. The increase will provide record funding for stewardship, agriculture programs, invasive species prevention and eradication, water quality improvement, municipal recycling and an aggressive environmental justice agenda. Further, this funding level will establish new programs to help communities adapt to climate change through resiliency planning and capital projects, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions outside of the power sector.
Recent research underscores how New York’s investment in land conservation and open space boosts property values, supports local businesses, saves taxpayer dollars and protects public health. A 2011 study by the Trust for Public Land found that every dollar of investment from New York’s Environmental Protection Fund generates $7 in total economic benefits from tourism, reduced government costs and public health.
The EPF grants announced today will support local efforts that contribute substantially to the Finger Lakes region’s billion dollar agricultural sector and $4.3 billion tourism economy by helping to preserve the state’s most productive agricultural lands and expanding public access to trails and other popular recreation areas. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation in New York directly supports 305,000 jobs across the state, generating $15 billion in wages and tax revenue.
NYS DEC Press Release: http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/105841.html