Round 2 of this grant opportunity is now closed. Any updates on future rounds will be posted here.
This grant program funds municipal land acquisition for community forests, which are vital for wildlife habitat, flood mitigation, recreational opportunities, mental health, air quality, water quality, and to meet the obligations outlined in New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Community forests build local ownership of forests and local participation in forest management. Properties acquired through this grant program allow public access, which encourages local residents to enjoy the forests in their community and increase their connection to forest benefits.
Grant funds are available from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund and are managed and allocated by DEC. Recipients of DEC Community Forest Conservation grants will be emailed additional information and instructions; and may visit the Lands and Forests Grantee Resources webpage for further instructions and forms associated with their projects.
Round 1 of this grant program was introduced in 2022. In Round 1, DEC awarded $956,189 to establish community forests totaling over 120 acres in four New York municipalities: Brookhaven, Lewiston, Webster, and Whitestown.
Another $1 million was awarded in November 2023, marking the end of round 2 of the Community Forest Conservation Grant program. These funds will help establish another 200+ acres of community forests in the towns of Bethlehem, Brookhaven, Germantown, and Poughkeepsie. Read the press release for more information.
Webinar for Interested Applicants
A webinar about project eligibility and the application process was held on Wednesday, August 2, 2023, at 9:00 AM. View the webinar.
Request for Applications (RFA)
For the complete eligibility requirements, project descriptions, timeframe and scoring information please read the Request For Applications (PDF). Following the instructions in this document is essential in submitting a successful application.
New York municipalities are eligible to apply for these grants.
Eligible locations for acquisition include private properties of 10 or more acres within New York State. At least 75% of the property must be forested.
Applicants may request a minimum grant amount of $50,000 and up to a maximum of $300,000.
A 10% match is required in the form of a cash match towards project expenditures, land donations, and bargain sale or use of match for community forest improvement such as installing trails or signage. At least 10% match must be submitted for each voucher until the total project match is met. See additional details in Section 8: Eligible and Ineligible Costs, of the RFA.
Costs eligible for reimbursement and match may include purchase price, appraisal, survey, and boundary line marking, title search, owner's title insurance, tax service, seller's prepaid taxes, recording fees, and attorney fees. See additional details in Section 8: Eligible and Ineligible Costs, of the RFA
How to Apply
Applications for round 2 of this grant are now closed.
All applications must be filed through Grants Gateway. Visit the Grants Gateway login page to create a new account or update your account. Grants Gateway provides training materials for those not familiar with the system, including the comprehensive Vendor User Manual. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications well in advance of the application deadline. Late applications will not be accepted.
Please visit the New York State Grants Management website for more information about Grants Gateway or contact Grants Management via email. The Grants Management help desk/hotline can be reached at (518) 474-5595.
Required Application Submittals
Applications must include at least the following:
- Map of the property
- Copy of the current deed
- Current school and town and county tax bills
- Estimate of market value
- Municipal resolution
- Letter of agreement from landowner
- Sexual harassment form
- Executive Order 16
- Smart Growth
Round 2 of this grant opportunity is now closed. Any updates on future rounds will be posted on this webpage.
Questions about this grant program should be directed to:
Molly Hassett, Forester in DEC's Division of Lands and Forests
Include "2023 Community Forest Conservation Grants" in the subject line of the email.