The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) awarded $70,000 in two separate grants to the Western New York Land Conservancy.
A transaction grant will support the Land Conservancy’s work in creating the Stella Niagara Preserve on the Niagara River in Lewiston—the most important and highest profile project in the Land Conservancy’s quarter-century history.
The Land Conservancy hired the nationally renowned landscape design team of Darrel Morrison and Nancy Aten to lead the way in restoring and enhancing wildlife habitat at the preserve. Their design was based on months of community engagement led by local consultant Anthony Armstrong.
This planning and design work was recently selected to receive a 2016 Planning Award for public outreach from the Western New York section of the American Planning Association.
The second grant will enable the Land Conservancy to create a new full-time position. The Land Protection Director will lead new land conservation efforts across the region further enhancing the Land Conservancy’s capacity to protect threatened natural places and farms in the coming years.
Both grants will help the Land Conservancy as they launch a new and innovative five-year strategic plan. The priorities are expanding the Niagara River Greenway, protecting land in the most critical watersheds of the Niagara River, preserving some of the state’s most productive farmland, expanding partnerships with the region’s indigenous communities, working in urban communities and enhancing the biodiversity and climate resiliency.
The grants were part of the $1.8 million in Conservation Partnership Program grants for 55 nonprofit land trusts across the state.
Representatives of the DEC and the Land Trust Alliance announced the grantees last week, which was Earth Week, a weeklong celebration of New York’s commitment to protecting our environment, conserving open space, and increasing access to the state’s vast and magnificent natural resources.
The grants are funded through New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The Land Trust Alliance administers the Conservation Partnership Program in coordination with DEC.
The Western New York Land Conservancy is a regional, not-for-profit land trust that permanently protects land with significant conservation value in Western New York for future generations.