Throughout my career in Connecticut, I have always been involved – in one way or another – with CT DEEP’s Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program – or OSWA.
OSWA is CT DEEP’s matching grants program providing financial support to land trusts, municipalities and water companies to purchase land or easements for community conservation projects.
As a land use attorney representing local land trusts and landowners, I have worked through grant requirements with CT DEEP’s Land and Acquisition Management Unit and celebrated when we made it across the finish line to close a deal.
As a Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land, I wrote OSWA applications and also learned how challenging it was to raise funds for a land conservation project when the annual OSWA grant round was canceled due to lack of funding.
During my almost 13 years at CLCC, advocating for OSWA has been an annual top priority on our Conservation Agenda. That means…
- Seeking consistency and increases in funding – through bond authorizations and protection of the Community Investment Act.
- Working through the Open Space Review Board to provide input into the OSWA grant process.
- Lobbying for statutory changes to improve the efficiency and efficacy of the program – including to better leverage federal match funding.
- Celebrating OSWA success stories through #LoveYourCTLandTrust and site visits with legislators.
The 2023 legislative session is underway. Yesterday, I testified at the Environment Committee’s public hearing in support of H.B. 6483, which would authorize additional annual bond funding for OSWA.
Your advocacy and engagement with your legislators will be essential as OSWA funding and other important land conservation priorities move forward through the legislative process.
Please stand by, and thank you, as always, for your partnership and advocacy in support of land conservation in your community and throughout the state.
P.S. To help prepare for your participation in the legislative session: Find your legislators. Get to know the Environment Committee and others. Read the weekly Connecticut General Assembly (CGA) Bulletin and find other useful info on the CGA website. View CLCC testimony. Contact me anytime with questions, comments or concerns.