DEEP: DEEP Announces New Round of Open Space Grants Funding for Municipalities, Land Conservation Groups

Oct. 25, 2013

DEEP Announces New Round of Open Space Grants Funding for Municipalities, Land Conservation Groups
 
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced that funds are available to assist cities and towns and land conservation organizations with the purchase and preservation of open space lands through the state of Connecticut’s Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition program.
 
“We are pleased to announce a new competitive grant round for projects that protect open space in Connecticut,” said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty.  “Open space acquisitions funded under this grant program play a real part in enriching our lives by providing enjoyable place to be outdoors, protecting natural habitats for wildlife and bird species, as well as preserving our local agricultural heritage.  These grants already have helped preserve thousands of beautiful and environmentally significant acres across the state and through the continued commitment of the Governor and the legislature, we continue to move toward our goal of preserving 21% of land as open space by the year 2023.”
 
Funding for this grant round will be made available from Community Investment Act (CIA) funds held by DEEP, and may be augmented by state bond funds. 
 
Background on Open Space and Open Space Grants
 
The Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition grant program has played a key part in helping the state move forward toward achieving its open space protection goal.

Connecticut’s open space includes recreation and conservation land owned or protected by the state and land owned or protected by municipalities and others, often with state financial assistance.  These purchases are helping Connecticut meet its open space goal of protecting 21 percent of Connecticut’s land – or 673,210 acres – by the year 2023.  DEEP and its partners have protected nearly 500,000 acres already, putting us almost at 74% toward the state’s goal.  Since the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition program began in 1998, DEEP has provided more than $109 million in grants to assist with the purchase of approximately 27,440 acres of open space across the state in 128 of Connecticut’s cities and towns. 
 
Background on the Community Investment Act
 
Under the CIA, Public Act 05-228, a fee was established for the recording of all documents into municipal land records.  Funds from this fee are shared by local governments and four state agencies:  the Department of Agriculture, the DEEP, the Department of Economic and Community Development – Offices of Culture and Tourism, and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority.
  
The CIA was designed to protect and preserve the beauty and unique character of Connecticut for future generations by providing a new source of funding for
  • Open space
  • Protection of farmland
  • Preservation of historic sites
  • Creation of additional affordable housing programs
  • Important municipal capital improvement projects.
Details on Applying for an Open Space Grant
 
• Deadline:  January 31, 2014.
• Application:  Current version is available on DEEP website:  www.ct.gov/deep/openspace
• Grant awards are expected to be awarded in the fall of 2014.
• For more information contact:  Dave Stygar at (860) 424-3081 or Allyson Clarke at (860) 424-3774.