Click here to download a large PDF map
Capitalized with a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Resilient Landscape Initiative Fund (Fund) provides capital grants and loans to land protection projects within selected regions of the northeast, mid-Atlantic and central Appalachians. Projects must lie in one of OSI’s four resilient Landscapes, demonstrate the use of resilient landscape concepts and meet the other grant criteria detailed below. 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.
Geographic Focus Area
Through an in-depth review process (Download a PDF of Landscape Selection Process), OSI has selected the following four Resilient Landscapes to target funding. Click on the region to download a PDF fact brochure with maps:
Potomac Headwaters – West Virginia & Virginia
Highlands and Kittatinny Ridge – New Jersey & Pennsylvania
Middle Connecticut River – Vermont & Massachusetts
Southern New Hampshire & Maine Forests
All applications must be submitted through OSI’s online application. See below. Prior to submitting an application please carefully review the Definitions and Data Guide, Frequently Asked Questions, and grant criteria below.
We strongly suggest that you contact OSI staff to discuss your project before preparing an application:
West Virginia and Virginia projects:
New Jersey and Pennsylvania projects:
Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont projects: Jennifer Melville
GIS Analysis and Maps
To determine eligibility and to assess your project’s resiliency attributes, GIS analysis is required. OSI has developed a data package that emphasizes the components of resiliency that are core to OSI’s Resiliency Initiative. We have also developed a Definitions and Data Guide that defines key resiliency concepts, describes OSI’s resiliency data package, and provides examples of maps required through OSI’s capital grant program.
Download the Definitions and Data Guide and Map Package.
The Nature Conservancy’s raw resiliency data is available at three different scales (30 meter, 1000-acre hexagons, and focal areas) at this site. TNC also provides an overview of these datasets in the Resilient Sites Dataset description.
If your organization does not have GIS capacity, please contact OSI well before you submit an application to determine eligibility and, if appropriate, for help with map preparation.
For GIS assistance, contact:
There are no additional deadlines in 2013. OSI will release a Request for Proposals in January 2014. To be notified about future grant rounds please sign up here, and to learn more about the grant fund, please click here.
Grant Fund Webinar
Informational webinar on OSI's Resilient Landscapes Grant Fund was held on June 20, 2013, 12 noon EST. Download the slides from the webinar as pdf.
To be eligible for funding, projects must meet all of the following threshold criteria:
- Lie within an OSI Resilient Landscape *
- Rank above-average for resiliency *
- Achieve permanent protection of resilient habitat through fee purchase of land or a conservation easement
- Meet or exceed OSI conservation easements standards (See standards below for conservation easement projects only)
- 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
- Be completed within 18 months of receiving notification of OSI’s grant award.
OSI will evaluate projects that meet the Threshold Criteria against the following:
- Extent and type of under-represented geophysical settings found on the property*
- Extent of the property that ranks above-average for landscape complexity*
- Extent and condition of plant and animal species and natural communities found on the property
- Capacity of the project, either alone or in conjunction with existing protected areas, to help ensure the viability of plant and animal species
- Threat to the property and/or particular conservation opportunity presented by the project
- Evidence of a stewardship plan for the long term conservation of the property
- Prospects for 5:1 or greater financial leverage. OSI will only approve projects with less than 5:1 match in exceptional circumstances. (See match requirements below)
- Evidence of the applicant’s interest in and ability to advance the use of resiliency science to ensure climate adaptation for species
- 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 an OSI Resilient Landscape grant 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 may make exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
Please review the Definitions and Data Guide to determine eligibility and determine resiliency attributes.
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, staff time, buildings or other non-capital project expenses.
OSI staff and the Fund’s Advisory Committee will review applications and, based on that review, staff will make recommendations to OSI’s Conservation Capital Committee.
All grant awards are subject to the approval of OSI’s Conservation Capital Committee. Projects must close within 18 months of OSI’s grant approval.
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.
Conservation Easement Standards
OSI staff will review conservation easement language prior to distribution of grant funds to ensure that the easement meets the Fund’s goals. OSI will work with grantees to provide guidance in a timely manner. Conservation easements must, at a minimum, include the following: enforceable standards for permanent protection of resource values; workable monitoring and enforcement provisions; process for communication between the easement holder and landowner; provisions ensuring sustainable forest management, if vegetation management is allowed; a stewardship or management plan process; and, baseline documentation provision. To the extent practicable, conservation easements that allow commercial timber harvesting should require Forest Stewardship Council certification.
Grant Amount and Matching Requirement
Although there is no minimum or maximum grant size, awards are typically between $100,000 and $400,000.
OSI will give strong preference to projects with a 5:1 or greater financial match. OSI will fund projects with less than 5:1 match only in exceptional circumstances. Prior to grant distribution grantees must provide a detailed accounting of all matching sources.
The following qualify as matching funds:
- Public funds (federal, state and local) and private funds from individuals and foundations used for the acquisition of fee interest or a conservation easement on the subject property or on eligible match properties.
- The value of a donated conservation easement or bargain sale on the subject property.
- The value of a donated conservation easement or bargain sale on eligible match properties.
- Transaction and other acquisition costs, including appraisals, surveys, environmental assessments, title exams and insurance, recording fees, transfer and real estate taxes, property carrying costs and fees for outside counsel.
Match Property Eligibility
To be eligible as match, property must 1) be adjacent or proximate to the subject property, 2) meet the Fund’s criteria, 3) generally be part of a larger plan to conserve the subject property, 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, 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
Download a PDF copy of the application here. All applications must be submitted through our online service here.
General Information & Application
212-290-8200 x 311
Outreach and Education
West Virginia and Virginia
New Jersey and Pennsylvania
Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont Jennifer Melville
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