OSI partners with conservation organizations in the Northeast to assemble networks of protected lands most likely to preserve plant and animal diversity in a changing climate. The Fund supports projects in four focus areas in New England, the mid-Atlantic, and the Central Appalachians offering the greatest opportunity to conserve missing links for resiliency in the overall landscape.
The Fund provides capital grants and loans to qualified non-profits for the acquisition of land or conservation easements on climate-resilient lands, capitalized with a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Through an in-depth review process, we selected four focus areas in order to target funds most effectively. A fact brochure with maps for each focus area can be downloaded:
To determine eligibility and assess a project’s resiliency attributes, applicants will use the newest data and produce maps with a new TNC Mapping Tool. The Definitions and Map Guide defines and explains resiliency concepts, details map requirements, and provides examples. Projects must be in one of the four focus areas and meet all of the following Threshold Criteria:
- Lie within an OSI Resilient Focus Area.
- Rank above average for Landscape Resilience.
- Achieve permanent protection of high resilience habitat through fee purchase of land or a conservation easement.
- Meet or exceed OSI Conservation Easement Standards.
- Be spearheaded by an organization with the capacity and financial ability to execute the transaction and ensure long-term stewardship and management of the property consistent with the Fund’s objectives.
- Be completed within 18 months of receiving notification of OSI’s grant award.
Projects that meet the Threshold Criteria will be evaluated based on the:
- Extent of the property that ranks above average for Resilience.
- Extent and type of Underrepresented Geophysical Settings found on the property.
- Extent of the property that ranks above average for Landscape Diversity.
- Extent, status and condition of plant and animal species and natural communities found on the property.
- The project’s role in helping to ensure the long-term viability of plant and animal species, either alone or in conjunction with existing protected areas.
- Threat and/or particular conservation opportunity presented.
- Evidence of a stewardship plan for the long-term conservation of the property consistent with the Fund’s objectives.
- Ability to meet OSI’s Match Requirements.
- Applicant’s interest in and ability to advance the use of resiliency science.
- Ability of the project to illustrate the importance of resilient landscape conservation and/or to catalyze other projects that will protect resilient habitat. Evidence that the land trust receiving funding from and/or holding property funded through a grant from the Fund is accredited by the Land Trust Commission or has a reasonable plan and timeframe for attaining accreditation that has been adopted by the land trust’s board.
OSI awards grants to qualified non-profit organizations through a competitive process with the assistance of an advisory board comprised of experts with knowledge of natural resources, conservation policy and land conservation funding.
OSI staff and the Fund’s Advisory Committee review applications against the Fund’s criteria and goals.
Once OSI has approved a grant, we will provide the grantee with a checklist of items required for OSI to prepare a grant agreement. When all required information and documents are received, OSI will forward a grant agreement to the grantee. If applicable, the grantee must provide documents pertaining to each project phase and match parcel. OSI will release funds at the time the transaction closes or after project closing. Projects must close within 18 months of OSI’s grant approval
Conservation Easement and Stewardship Standards
Conservation easements and stewardship of Resilient Landscape Fund grant projects must be consistent with the goals of the Fund: maintaining the land’s resilience to climate change and conserving native biodiversity and ecosystem processes. Prior to submitting a grant proposal, applicants should review OSI’s Conservation Easement and Stewardship Standards.
Match Property Eligibility
To be eligible as match, a property must: 1) be adjacent or proximate to the subject property; 2) meet the Fund’s criteria; 3) be part of a larger plan that includes conservation of the match and subject properties; and 4) close prior to the closing of the subject property but not more than one year before date of application. In addition, to determine eligibility of match parcels OSI will consider whether the match and the subject properties lie in the same watershed, geophysical setting, TNC Resilient Focal Area, Forest Matrix Block, natural community and/or State Wildlife Action Plan priority area.
The following do not qualify as matching funds:
- Ecological or land restoration dollars
- Stewardship endowments and land management expenses
- Staff time, travel or expenses
Eligible Uses of Funds
Grants may be used to acquire permanent conservation easements and fee interest in land. In exceptional cases, grants may be applied to cover transactional costs, including cost of appraisals, surveys, title, and environmental assessments. The Fund may also provide short-term low-interest loans for projects that require bridge financing and that meet the grant criteria. Grant funds cannot be used for endowments, stewardship costs, baseline documentation reports, staff time, buildings or other non-capital project expenses.