Protecting Your Family Land: Programs, Funding, and Organizations that can help! Aerial Photography by Leslie Sweetnam www.glsweetnam.com Federal Funding Programs • Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRLPP) • Forest Legacy Program (FLP) Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRLPP) Organization/Agency: U.S. Department of Agriculture - NRCS Program Purpose: Funding for the purchase of conservation restrictions Success in CT: In 2009 this program had protected 70 farms and over 7,400-acres including Valley Farm in East Woodstock in 2006. Eligibility Requirements: Entity Criteria: Any state or local unit of government, or non-profit organization can apply for FRPP funds by demonstrating a commitment to long-term conservation of agriculture land, a capability to acquire, manage, and enforce easements, sufficient staff dedicated to monitoring and easement stewardship, and the availability of funds – (Requires a 50-50 match with exceptions for a percentage of donated land). Parcel Criteria: Must be privately owned, contain at least 50% prime, unique, statewide, or locally important farmland, be subject of a pending offer, contain cropland, grassland, pasture land, or forest land that contributes to the economic viability of an agricultural operation, not include forest land of greater than two-thirds of the easement, and possess on-site and off-site conditions which will allow the easement to be effective in achieving the purposes of the program Application Deadline: Ongoing Website: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/ct/programs/easements/farmranch/ Contact Information: Joyce Purcell FRPP Program Manager USDA-NRCS 344 Merrow Road, Suite A Tolland, CT 06084-3917 Phone: (860) 871-4028 [email protected] Forest Legacy Program (FLP) Organization/Agency: U.S. Department of Agriculture – Forest Service Program Purpose: Funding for up to 75% of the cost of purchasing a conservation restriction on forest land and on rare occasions for the purchase of forest land outright Success in CT: Through August of 2012 there had been 30 tracts totaling 8,125 acres protected in CT. The Stonehouse Brook parcels in Chaplin and Ashford were approved in 2004 and funded in 2007. Eligibility Requirements: Property must: • Be within a designated Forest Legacy Area • Be threatened by development or conversion to non-forest • Be a working forest, in that it protects water quality, provides habitat, forest products, opportunities for recreation, and/or other public benefits • Abut or be in close proximity to already existing protected land • Have some unique quality, such as a viewshed or a known population of rare, threatened or endangered species • Have a Forest Stewardship Plan Application Deadline: Ongoing Websites: http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2697&pm=1&Q=483756&depNav_GID=1631 http://www.fs.fed.us/spf/coop/programs/loa/aboutflp.shtml Contact Information: Helene Hochholzer Forest Legacy Coordinator, CT DEEP Division of Forestry Tel: 860-424-3634 Fax: 860-424-4070 Email: [email protected] State Funding Programs • Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program • Farmland Preservation Program • Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program • Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program Organization/Agency: CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Program Purpose: Up to 65% (75% for projects in ‘distressed municipalities or targeted investment communities’) of either fair market value of development rights or purchase price for a conservation property Success in CT: From 1998 through 2010 this grant program has funded $102,517,477 to support the purchase of 380+ properties, preserving 67,000 acres in 125 communities. Eligibility Requirements: Entity Criteria: Municipalities, Non-profit land conservation organizations, and Water Companies are eligible for funding Property Criteria: Property must be one or more of the following: valuable for recreation, forestry, fishing, conservation of wildlife or natural resources, a prime natural feature of the state's landscape, habitat for native plant or animal species listed as threatened, endangered or of special concern, a relatively undisturbed outstanding example of a native ecological community which is uncommon, important for enhancing and conserving water quality, valuable for preserving local agricultural heritage, or eligible to be classified as Class I or Class II watershed land (Water Companies only). Also, Public access is required. Application Deadline: Announced every year Website: http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?A=2687&Q=322338 Contact Information: David Stygar Land Acquisition CT DEEP 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127 (860) 424-3016 [email protected] Farmland Preservation Program Organization/Agency: CT Department of Agriculture (DOAG) Program Purpose: Funding for the state to pay up to 100% of the value of development rights for farmland that will help secure the future of agriculture in CT Success in CT: 283 farms totaling 37,262 acres preserved through program so far (April 2011) Eligibility Requirements: Entity Criteria: Landowners and municipalities (if have policy in support of farmland preservation, a farmland preservation plan, and a fund for purchasing development rights) can apply Property Criteria: Property must be an active farm operation, include a minimum of 30 acres of cropland or be adjacent to a larger parcel, meet minimum program criteria, and meet FRPP requirements if federal funding will be used as part of the sale. Priority is given to land with a high percentage of prime and important agricultural soils and land in close proximity to other active farmland. Application Deadline: Ongoing Website: http://www.ct.gov/doag/cwp/view.asp?a=3260&q=399016 Contact Information: J. Joseph Dippel, Director Farmland Preservation Program, CT DOAG 165 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106 Phone: (860) 713-2511 Fax: (860) 713-2514 [email protected] Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program Organization/Agency: CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Program Purpose: Funding for the state to acquire open space property Success in CT: Over 35,000 acres protected with about $ 190,000,000 spent (2008) Eligibility Requirements: Property Criteria: (should possess one or more of the following attributes): • It should provide high quality recreation opportunities, either active or passive. • It should be a resource offering conservation to a unique, natural area or protection of a species considered threatened, endangered, or of special concern. • It should correspond to an example of a prime, natural feature of the Connecticut landscape • Also, property must be for sale on the open market or the property owner must have expressed interest in the current or future sale or donation of the property. Application Deadline: Ongoing Website: http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2706&q=323840&deepNav_GID=1641 Contact Information: Jackie Albert Division of Land Acquisitions and Management CT DEEP, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127 (860) 424-3016 [email protected] Recreational Trail Program (RTP) Organization/Agency: CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Program Purpose: Funding for everything related to recreational trails including acquisition of land or easements for a trail, or for trail corridors. Success in CT: About 1 million given to organizations for various trail projects every year Eligibility Requirements: • Grants may be made to any private nonprofit organizations, municipalities, state departments and tribal governments. • Requires 80/20 match Application Deadline: End of March, but may shift Website: http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2707&q=323866&deepNav_GID=1642 Contact Information: Laurie Giannotti Trails and Greenways Coordinator CT DEEP, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127 (860) 424-3578 [email protected] Other Funding Opportunities • Municipal Open Space Funding / Bonding • Community / Family Foundations • Conservation Loan Programs Municipal Open Space Funding / Bonding • CT General Statute 7-131r enables municipalities to create a dedicated fund for the purpose of land acquisition – Not every town has established a fund – Money sources differ among towns –Examples include: • Annual line item budget • Annual mill rate allocation • Income from municipal forestry • Fee-in-lieu of open space • Gifts and bequests • Some towns also allocate municipal bonding money – Bonding can be approved prior to purchase or for specific properties – Can also be used for matching grants, to acquire development rights or to purchase land Community / Family Foundations • There are foundations that serve New England, Connecticut, and local communities throughout the state • They provide funding for many projects sometimes including land protection and open space acquisition • Examples Include: – Community Foundation of Eastern CT – Eastern CT – Fields Pond Foundation – Southern NE & NY – Sweet Water Trust – New England and Upstate NY Conservation Loan Programs • Norcross Wildlife Foundation - http://www.norcrossws.org/Foundmain.html – Makes no interest bridge loans to land trusts, sanctuaries and small foundations to help them acquire land they have prioritized for conservation. Loans of up to $250,000 are available for up to one full year. – The subject property must possess wildlife habitat of some tangible significance. – Applicants must be private, non-profit organizations as determined by the Internal Revenue Service. • The Conservation Fund - http://www.conservationfund.org/ourconservation-strategy/major-programs/land-trust-loan-program/ – Works with private landowners to secure conservation easements on lands with high conservation value. – Provide bridge financing and real estate expertise – Particular importance on “working lands” or forests, farms and ranches being sustainably, actively managed. Partner Organizations • • • • • • • • Connecticut Forest and Park Association Wolf Den Land Trust Joshua’s Trust Connecticut Farmland Trust Nature Conservancy Wyndham Land Trust Northern Connecticut Land Trust New Roxbury Land Trust Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA) Mission: Dedicated to protecting forests, parks, walking trails, and open spaces for future generations by connecting people to the land. Area of Focus: Statewide Land Protection: Manage the 825 mile Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail system, own about 350 acres, and hold conservation restrictions on about 1700 acres and 7 miles of trail. Focus its land conservation efforts on the protection of working forests and trails Contact: Lindsay Michel – Land Conservation Director at [email protected] or (860) 346-8733 Wolf Den Land Trust Mission: The goal of the Wolf Den Land Trust is to preserve diverse habitats and open space for future generations, and to demonstrate healthy stewardship activities on this land. Area of Focus: Work in northeastern CT Land Protection: Currently own 503 acres and hold two conservation restrictions Contact: Rob Viani – President at 860.974.3942 Joshua’s Trust Mission: The trust is designed to supplement the open space and historic conservation efforts of federal, state, and local governments. Area of Focus: Work in all of Windham County and most of Tolland County Land Protection: Currently, protecting over 4,000 acres in fee ownership and conservation restrictions Contact: Stephanie Clark – Executive Director at [email protected] Connecticut Farmland Trust Mission: The Connecticut Farmland Trust’s (CFT) purpose is to preserve and protect land for agricultural use, to enhance agricultural diversity, economic development, environmental quality and rural character, to promote education for farmland preservation, and to assist landowners and others in protecting agricultural land. Area of Focus: Statewide Land Protection: Currently, hold agricultural conservation easements that protect 2,096 acres of farmland on 26 family farms around the state and have assisted partners in the preservation of 789 additional acres. Contact: Elisabeth Moore – Director of Conservation at [email protected] or (860) 247-0202 Nature Conservancy Mission: The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Area of Focus: Work statewide and throughout the country Land Protection: The CT Chapter has protected more than 50,000 acres and maintains 62 local nature preserves Contact: Sarah Pellegrino - Land Protection and Strategies Specialist at (203) 568-6293 Wyndham Land Trust Mission: The mission of the Wyndham Land Trust is to conserve the natural resources of Northeast Connecticut - the water courses, swamps, woodlands, and open spaces, the plant and animal life therein, and the scenic natural and historic sites Area of Focus: Work in Windham County Land Protection: Own 41 parcels in ten towns totaling almost 1800 acres and hold conservation restrictions on another 700 acres Contact: WLT at (860) 963-2090 or [email protected] Northern Connecticut Land Trust Mission: The Mission of the Trust is to preserve the natural resources of the northern Connecticut region including agricultural land and other ecologically important open space. Area of Focus: Work in Ellington, Enfield, East Windsor, Somers, Stafford, Tolland and Vernon Land Protection: Have protected over 1000 acres Contact: NCLT at [email protected] New Roxbury Land Trust Mission: Created to preserve open space; protect agricultural lands, forests, natural resources and wildlife habitats Area of Focus: Works in Woodstock, Eastford, Pomfret, Putnam, Thompson and Union Land Protection: Currently owns 130 acres Contact: http://www.nrlt.org/contact-us.html Questions??? Thank you!