OSI launched the New Jersey Land Protection Fund in 2003 to help New Jersey organizations finance land conservation transactions quickly with low-cost bridge loans. It focused on ecologically critical areas defined as the highest priorities by the state’s conservation community: the Highlands, Pinelands, Barnegat Bay watershed, and Delaware Bayshore.
Why New Jersey Land Protection Fund
New Jersey is rapidly losing irreplaceable farmland, forest, and wetlands.
The pace of development, coupled with the high cost of real estate in the state, has stretched the resources of land trusts to their limits. State funding, from the voter-approved Green Acres program, is a key component in putting together land conservation projects.
When the state delayed releasing funding it had committed to specific projects, OSI created the Fund to provide low-cost loans to keep deals from falling through. The program was funded through Program Related Investments from the Geraldine R. Dodge and William Penn Foundations.
Impact of the Fund
Since 2003, 16 loans totaling $9.2 million helped protect more than 10,000 acres of open space in New Jersey, including greenbelts in Allentown and Frenchtown and key parcels in the Pinelands and Highlands. The Fund helped a number of organizations, including the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Morris Land Conservancy, D & R Greenway Inc., the Monmouth Conservation Foundation and the Unexpected Wildlife Refuge, close important land conservation projects.
It was our first partnership with New Jersey conservation organizations, and set in motion our ongoing work to protect wildlife habitat and watershed lands in the state through the Bayshore-Highlands and Delaware River Watershed land protection funds.
The New Jersey Land Protection Fund has closed, but OSI still has the capacity to make loans in New Jersey for projects that fit our criteria. To discuss opportunities, call Bill Rawlyk, below.