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View of green preserve with fluffy white clouds against a blue sky

The following is a wrap-up of the 2024 Legislative Session as it relates to  CLCC’s 2024 State Conservation Policy and Funding Priorities:


Conservation funding continues: No adjustments to the Governor’s  biennial budget ending June 30, 2025 (passed last session) which provides:

  • $10 million in bond funding for the Open Space & Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program (OSWA), for matching grants to municipalities, land trusts, and water companies to support land conservation projects.  OSWA includes the Urban Green and Community Garden Program for community garden and green space projects.
  • $3 million in bond funding for the Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program for DEEP’s land conservation acquisitions for state parks, forests and wildlife management areas and
  • $10 million in bond funding for the Recreational Trails Program

Passport gets a fee increase; CIA does not: 

  • While dedicated funding for OSWA from the Community Investment Act and State Parks from the Passport to the Parks programs remained intact, a bill to increase revenue for the CIA failed due to inaction by the House (SB 351). A bill supporting an increase for the Passport program passed.


A major setback:

  • HB 5004 CT’s Climate Protection Act, and SB 11 The Governor’s Bill on Climate Preparedness and Response, two crucial climate action bills strengthening nature-based solutions (trees, forests, wetlands, riparian buffers, healthy organic soils, and other natural ecosystems) in state policy, failed due to the Senate’s inaction on the bills. These bills were major priorities of CLCC. We thank Representative Christine Palm for her leadership in ushering forward HB 5004, the leadership of the Environment Committee and House of Representatives for prioritizing the bill, and all legislators signed on as co-sponsors.

Some positive news:

  • Thanks to the end-of-session efforts of Representative Joe Gresko, provisions updating the OSWA statute to incentivize greater land conservation and urban greenspace projects, which were originally part of SB 11 (which failed), were passed via another bill. (HB 5223 line 254 et seq.)
  • Authorization for DEEP to utilize stormwater infrastructure funds to acquire conservation easements from willing landowners who wish to preserve streamside buffers on their property. (HB 5218, later in HB 5222)
  • The bond package establishes and funds a Resiliency Revolving Loan Fund to provide low-interest loans for climate resiliency projects and increases grants for microgrids and resilience projects. (HB 5524)

Of note, CLCC spent considerable time successfully advocating for the following:

  • The defeat of two provisions that would have led to historic rollbacks in environmental protections, including dilutions of inland wetlands protections and the weakening of opportunities for public participation via the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) (HB 5475 Sections 1c and 3).
  • Opposing three proposed conveyance bills that would transfer critical state natural areas to private entities if passed, potentially endangering their ecological integrity and public accessibility, would transfer public lands for non-conservation purposes. One of the bills – HB 5520 (Berlin) – was defeated. The other two proposals – HB 5522 (Woodstock) and SB 460 (Enfield) – were reduced in scope and ultimately passed.


CLCC submitted comments to DEEP encouraging:

  • More robust inter- and intra-agency cooperation regarding state land use grants and programs and prioritizing the inclusion of Nature-Based Solutions in state climate and land use policies as part of the 20×26 Initiative. CLCC Comments »
  • Careful scrutiny and utmost transparency in promoting private use of public lands as part of the Partnership for Parks Initiative. CLCC Comments »

View CLCC’s 2024 testimony and comments »

Please take a moment to review the bills that are important to you and send a message to your legislators with your appreciation for or concerns about their actions. If you need assistance determining your legislators’ positions on these or other bills, please contact Amy at abpaterson@ctconservation.org

View Amy’s blog post for further reflections and action steps you can take NOW to speak up for nature and advance your community’s land conservation goals.

Thank you for your advocacy during this legislative session!