Areas of Focus

Community Investment Act

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The CIA is Critical to the Land Conservation Community

Enacted with tremendous bipartisan support in 2005, the Community Investment Act (CIA) provides a dedicated and consistent source of increased funding for state programs for open space conservation, farmland preservation/dairy production, historic properties preservation, and affordable housing projects as well as for important municipal capital improvement initiatives.

The CIA is the only consistent source of funding for the state’s Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program (OSWA)—the state’s matching grant program for land trusts, municipalities and water companies seeking to conserve open space.

It also funds the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Urban Green and Community Garden Program—providing grants to targeted and distressed communities for the development and enhancement of community gardens and greenspaces.

Practicing Yoga at sunrise
Pam Quist

Fast Facts

  • The CIA has leveraged millions in private and public dollars, creating jobs and preserving and reinvesting in Connecticut’s rich natural character.
  • Through a $40 surcharge on local land recording, the CIA has funded over 1,400 projects with $152 million invested, benefiting almost every community in Connecticut.
  • The CIA fund enhances the land conservation community's ability to protect land and to help the state meet its open space and climate mitigation goals. The CIA generates roughly $22 million annually, with funds supporting land conservation, farmland preservation and dairy, affordable housing development, and the revitalization of historic buildings.
  • Investment in open space adds immeasurably to the quality of life of Connecticut residents and enhances local real property values.

A Fund at Risk

Despite the success of the program, the CIA fund is a constant target for raiding to close budget gaps. The continual sweeps of the CIA fund undermines the administration, function, and viability of the OSWA program, dealing a serious blow to the land conservation community’s ability to protect land and meet state open space goals.

Recent threats include:

  • 2016: The CIA fund was targeted for diversion to the General Fund, resulting in a 50% cut to the fund for the following two fiscal years. 
  • 2017-2018: State budget included a $5-million sweep of the CIA account over a two-year period.
  • 2019: Proposal to move the CIA account into the General Fund was rejected, but $1.5 million was diverted from the fund, adversely impacting programs supporting open space, farmland, historic preservation, and affordable housing.
learning in the garden
Vikki Reski

Support the CIA

Join us for our Conservation Conversations

CLCC’s annual summer event series bringing you conservation success stories made possible by the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection’s Open Space & Watershed Land Acquisition Program (OSWA) and Urban Green and Community Garden Program— funded by the Community Investment Act—and other state, federal, and local investments.

Hosted by local land trusts and other conservation partners, participants get a chance to visit beautiful natural spaces such as preserves, farms, and community gardens together with land trust members, state legislators, and local leaders. This is a wonderful opportunity to discuss state, regional, and local conservation priorities while enjoying a tour of these amazing places.   

Additional Areas of Focus

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Strengthen Land Conservation in Connecticut

There are many challenges in land conservation, but we have never yielded. We’ve always found our strength in the support of people who care for the environment as much we do. We can achieve so much more working with one another than alone.

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