Northeast Resilient Landscapes Initiative

Resilient Landscapes Map May 2013

Click here to download a large PDF map   

Fund Overview

Capitalized with a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Northeast Resilient Landscapes 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.

For information on the Southeast Resilient Landscape Fund, click here.

Geographic Focus Area

Through an in-depth review Landscape Selection Process OSI 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


Application Process

All applications must be submitted through OSI’s online application. Prior to submitting an application please review the Definitions and Data Guide, Frequently Asked Questions, and Grant Criteria below. 

We encourage applicants to contact OSI staff to discuss your project before preparing a proposal.

West Virginia and Virginia projects:
David Ray

New Jersey and Pennsylvania projects:
Bill Rawlyk

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 ‘s Definitions and Data Guide defines and explains resiliency concepts, details map requirements for capital grant applicants and provides examples of the required maps. The companion map package emphasizes the components of resiliency that are core to OSI’s Initiative and that are priorities in our Capital Grants.

Download the Definitions and Data Guide and the Map Package.

The Nature Conservancy’s resiliency data is available at three different scales (90 meter, 1,000-acre hexagons and focal areas). TNC also provides an overview of these datasets in the Resilient Sites Dataset description.

The full TNC report and associated data from which OSI’s data is derived is available here.

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.


Neil Jordan


Application and Deadlines

All applications must be submitted through our online service here.

Applications will be accepted from October 15, 2014 through December 16, 2014 at 5pm. During that time you may access the application here.

To be notified about future grant rounds please sign up here.

Grant Fund Webinar - Nov. 6, 1:00 pm

Please feel free to register for an informational session on the third round of OSI's Northeast Resilient Landscapes Grant Fund. OSI staff will review the underlying science and the grant fund process. We will be happy to address your questions, as this session is designed to assist you with the application process.

Please register for OSI Northeast Resilient Landscapes Fund - Round III - Applicant Webinar on Nov 6, 2014 1:00 PM EST at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Grant Criteria

* Please review the Definitions and Data Guide for definitions of the terms used below, to determine eligibility and to determine resiliency attributes. 

To be eligible for funding, projects must meet all of the following threshold criteria:

  • Lie within an OSI Resilient Landscape *
  • Rank above average for Landscape Resilience *
  • 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)
  • 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.

OSI will evaluate projects that meet the threshold criteria against the following:

  • Extent and type of Underrepresented 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
  • Role of the project, either alone or in conjunction with existing protected areas, to help ensure the long term 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 that is consistent with the Fund’s objectives.
  • 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.


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 easement provisions should guarantee protection of the project’s natural resource values and resilience characteristics of the property, such as continuous natural cover. Active forest management and farming may be allowed in some instances but must be secondary purposes to conservation of natural resources on the property. To the extent practicable, conservation easements that allow commercial timber harvesting should require Forest Stewardship Council certification.

Easement provisions must, at a minimum, address the following:

  • Purposes section that places priority on protecting the property’s natural resources and resilience characteristics;
  • Enforceable standards for permanent protection of natural resource values and resilience characteristics;
  • Workable monitoring and enforcement provisions;
  • Process for communication between the easement holder and landowner;
  • Provisions ensuring sustainable forest management, if vegetation management is allowed, including a regularly updated forest management plan;
  • A stewardship or management plan process, including regular updates to any plans; and,
  • Baseline documentation provision.

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 eligible match properties (see below).
  • 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, 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.


Grant Awards

OSI staff and the Fund’s Advisory Committee review applications and, based on that review, staff makes recommendations to 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 or after project closing.


General Information & Application

Yasemin Unal-Rodriguez
212-290-8200 x 311

West Virginia and Virginia
David Ray

New Jersey and Pennsylvania
Bill Rawlyk

Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont Jennifer Melville