Earlier this week, the Connecticut Land Conservation Council received some exciting news – after an incredibly competitive grant selection process, CLCC was awarded $750,000 through the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry Grant program. CLCC’s proposal was one of twelve projects to be selected from a pool of 78 applications that, together, requested more than $55 million in grant funds. Just under $7 million was awarded, in total.
Read more about the announcement in the press release from Lt. Governor Susan Byziewicz, HERE.
CLCC applied for this grant on behalf of the Connecticut land trust community. And approximately two-thirds of CLCC’s award – a half-million dollars – will be re-granted directly to our member land trusts through a multi-year program, to include:
- Planning Grants: Smaller grants will fund project planning, including developing forest management plans, or create work plans for implementation of specific climate-smart practices.
- Implementation grants: Larger grants will be available to assist land trusts with implementing these climate smart practices on their preserves
The remaining one-third of the grant will be used to develop climate smart programs for Connecticut’s land trusts. In the coming weeks, CLCC will be announcing a new staff position to oversee the development and implementation of a wide range training and technical assistance programs for land trusts.
Together, these programs will increase the number of acres managed using climate-smart practices, and encourage future climate-smart management practices among Connecticut’s land trusts.
But what are climate smart practices?
Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry are a collection of land management strategies and practices that increase carbon storage, support ecosystem services, and improve climate resilience.
There are a wide range of climate-smart practices recognized by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), which will guide CLCC’s development of the future grant program.
Examples of projects that may be funded through CLCC’s re-grant program include:
- Establishing pollinator habitat
- Creating structural diversity within forests
- Managing invasive species replacing them with native plant communities
- Facilitating oak regeneration
- Establishing wildlife corridors
- Increasing riparian herbaceous cover
Land Conservation & Stewardship as a Climate Solution
Connecticut’s ~130 land trusts have collectively conserved more than 204,000 acres of land, a critical piece of the natural climate solution. As the climate crisis worsens, land trusts have expressed significant interest in integrating climate resiliency and mitigation into their land stewardship programs.
CLCC is here to help land trusts do just that.
With these funds, CLCC will dramatically increase awareness of climate-smart land management practices among Connecticut’s land trusts, and assist land trusts in planning and implementing climate-smart projects
More information about this grant program will be announced in the coming weeks and months. We are eager to get these funds on the ground, and look forward to updating you with additional information as it becomes available.
Photo credit: Anne Hungerford