Funding Programs

Photo Credit Amy B. Paterson

Funding programs for open space protection in Connecticut include support from the federal government, state agencies, and private organizations. These programs are available to land trusts and other conservation organizations for increasing the pace of land acquisition, improving land stewardship, and various capacity building needs. Please use the program summaries below as a starting point for your own grant research and inquiries. This is only a sampling of the many funding programs available. For information on other funding opportunities, contact Executive Director Amy B. Paterson at


US Department of Agriculture

Forest Service, Forest Legacy Program: The Forest Legacy Program is a federal program administered in partnership with Connecticut and other states to protect and steward environmentally-significant forests. Landowners, in cooperation with a conservation organization or state or local agencies, may apply.

Landscape Scale Restoration Competitive Request for Proposals: The Fiscal Year 2016 Landscape Scale Restoration Competitive Request for Proposals assists State Forestry agencies achieve priorities documented in their respective state forest action plans while at the same time meeting regional and national priorities of the US Forest Service.

Natural Resources Conservation Service, CT Program: The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers a variety of programs in Connecticut, providing financial assistance for agricultural management, wildlife habitat conservation, water quality and watershed protection, and other environmental projects.

Community Forest Program: The Community Forest Program is a grant program that authorizes the Forest Service to provide financial assistance to local governments, Tribal governments, and qualified nonprofit entities to establish community forests that provide continuing and accessible community benefits.

FY2019 Conservation Easement Program: The USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. There are two components to this program: Agricultural Land Easements and Wetland Reserve Easements. Deadline: April 22, 2019.

Long Island Sound Study

Long Island Sound Futures Fund: The Long Island Sound Study is a partnership of federal and state agencies, conservation organizations and individuals committed to protecting and restoring the Long Island Sound. Funding is available for a variety of collaborative conservation projects focused on coastal and riverine resources, including watershed planning and wetland and estuary protection, restoration and stewardship.

National Fish and Wildlife Service

North American Wetlands Conservation Act Grants: The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) includes two competitive matching grants programs for the protection and stewardship of wetlands for benefit of wetlands-associated migratory birds and other wildlife.


CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Long Island Sound Watershed Regional Conservation Partnership Program (LISW-RCPP): The purpose of the LISW-RCPP is to assist landowners, on a volunaty basis, in helping to restore, enhance, and protect forestland resources on private lands through permanent conservation easements.

Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program: The Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program provides financial assistance to municipalities and nonprofit land conservation organizations to acquire land for open space. More information on DEEP's open space program is available HERE. Click HERE for more info about the open space grant program.

Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program: Through the Recreation and Natural Heritage Program, the DEEP acquires open space of “statewide significance that represents the ecological and cultural diversity of Connecticut, with a focus on unique features such as rivers, mountains, rare natural communities, scenic qualities, historic significance, connections to other protected land, and access to water.”

Recreation Trails Program: Pending the availability of funds, DEEP may provide grants to any prive nonprofit organizations, municipalities, state departments and tribal governments. Grant amounts vary. Click HERE for more details about the program.

CT Department of Agriculture

Farmland Preservation Program: The Department of Agriculture supports the protection of Connecticut’s farmland resources through the purchase of development rights to agricultural properties. The landowner continues to own and use the land, within the limits of restrictions on non-agricultural activities.

Connecticut Land Conservation Council

Connecticut Land Trust Challenge Fund: The Connecticut Land Trust Challenge Fund grant program was launched in April 2009 to provide individual land trusts across the state with funding for coaching and mentoring expertise that will support their efforts to implement Land Trust Standards & Practices (Standards & Practices), the guide for legal and ethical performances by land trusts.Offered in partnership with the Land Trust Alliance, the consultant led services granted to land trusts may be applied toward a spectrum of capacity-building needs, including, but not limited to, strategic planning, enhancing stewardship practices, increasing fundraising skills, building new collaborations, improving volunteer management, or advancing community outreach – all resulting in stronger land trusts and overall land conservation. The program has provided over $200,000 in grant funds to 40 land trusts to undertake organizational capacity building projects since 2009. Eight land trusts are participating in the 2014 Program, with funding generously provided by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the Connecticut Community Foundation. For more information, please contact CLCC Executive Director Amy B. Paterson at


Community Foundations: Many community foundations in Connecticut have programs for capacity building and other conservation funding needs. The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy provides a list of these foundations and their areas of service.

New England Grassroots Environment Fund: Through small grants of up to $2,500, the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund supports community environmental projects aimed at its mission “to energize and nurture long-term civic engagement in local initiatives that create and maintain healthy, just, safe and environmentally sustainable communities.”