The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Land Trust Alliance (LTA) announced $2.29 million in Conservation Partnership Program grants at the New York State Land Symposium in Albany on Tuesday. Fifty-one nonprofit land trusts across the state will receive a total of seventy grants.
Friends of the IBA (FIBA) received a $40,000 grant to support the organization’s work to conserve critical habitat for New York’s endangered, threatened and rapidly declining grassland birds – including the Short-eared owls and Snowy owls that attract thousands of visitors to the Washington County Grasslands Important Bird Area in winter.
FIBA Executive Director Laurie LaFond said the funds will be used to develop and implement strategies to increase financial support for critical land acquisitions, habitat management and community outreach.
“Grassland birds benefit everyone,” LaFond said. “They control pests that damage crops. They share their habitat with bees and butterflies that pollinate fruits, vegetables, hay and other crops. We need to protect critical breeding and wintering areas before it’s too late – for them and us!”
DEC said the grants, funded through New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), will leverage an additional $2.3 million in private and local funding to support projects that will protect farmland, wildlife habitat and water quality, enhance public access for outdoor recreation, and conserve priority open space areas critical for community health, tourism, and regional economic development.
“Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership, financial support from the Environmental Protection Fund, and the hard work of New York’s land trusts, the Conservation Partnership Program continues to improve our quality of life while protecting valuable natural resources and state lands,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.
“New York’s commitment to the Environmental Protection Fund sets a standard that can inspire other states to protect water quality, promote healthy communities and address the growing risks of climate change,” said Andrew Bowman, president of the Land Trust Alliance. “These are smart investments in our collective future.”
Local land trusts receiving NYSCPP grants include: Agricultural Stewardship Association, Battenkill Conservancy, Lake George Land Conservancy and Saratoga PLAN.
Learn more about FIBA’s work at https://www.ibafriends.org
Official DEC press release: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/48901.html
[Photo: NYSCPP Grant recipients courtesy DEC; LaFond is seen standing in second row, second from right, between LTA New York Senior Program Manager Ethan Winter, far right, and DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner Ken Lynch]