A new $3.25 million program aimed at paying landowners to conserve and restore their wooded land for biodiversity and water protection is now accepting applications. The funding will come from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Healthy Forests Reserve Program and applications will be screened by the Long Island Sound Watershed Regional Conservation Partnership Program (LISW-RCPP).
This new program aims to pair interested landowners with local land trusts to restore, enhance, and protect privately owned forests through conservation easements. These projects will promote the recovery of endangered species, improve plant and animal habitat, and protect drinking water supply sources.
“In the Long Island Sound Watershed, twenty regional conservation partnerships (RCPs) of land trusts, towns, and agencies are already collaborating to help individual and family forest owners protect their biodiverse-rich lands from development,” said Bill Labich, Chair of the LISW-RCPP’s Forest Land Protection Technical Committee. “The LI Sound Watershed RCP Program ushers in the first significant transfusion of federal Healthy Forest Reserve Program funding for land protection in the Northeast. We’re eager to see how many landowners and rare species we can serve with this program.”
LISW-RCPP was formed in 2015 with a $10 million grant from the NRCS as a multi-state, multi-agency effort to reduce nitrogen pollution from runoff within the Long Island Sound watershed.
Applications will be accepted through August 1, 2016 and information about eligibility, ranking criteria, and how to apply is available at http://www.lisw-rcpp.com/forests.html.