The Delaware River Watershed Protection Program seeks to ensure
abundant, clean water within the 13,000-square-mile drainage of the Delaware
River. The initiative supports efforts in eight watershed clusters to protect
and restore water quality and is capitalized with a $10.2 million grant from
the William Penn Foundation.
OSI uses three primary strategies to achieve its objectives in
grants for permanent protection of land that ensures the ability to produce
clean, abundant water;
grants for planning, analysis and communication that result in tangible
outcomes that accelerate permanent conservation for water resources; and,
of hydrological concepts for permanent conservation, including development of
datasets that identify critical water resources for land protection.
Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund supports capital projects that permanently
protect lands that conserve water quality and quantity in the Delaware River
watershed. The Fund invests in land conservation projects that
are located in watersheds that have the ability to produce high quality
ground and/or surface water,
contribute to water quality through protection of streams, headwaters and
other important recharge areas, and
protect sites that are vulnerable to erosion and ground water pollution.
the projects supported through the Fund, OSI seeks to raise the visibility of
watershed conservation issues in the Delaware River Basin and to attract
additional funding for priority acquisition projects. OSI further supports
efforts that promote and pilot innovative conservation financing tools and
that test and advance emerging watershed protection practices.
OSI makes grants and loans to qualified land conservation organizations
through a competitive process with the assistance of an advisory board
comprised of experts from the region with knowledge of hydrology, land
protection, planning, natural resources, and philanthropy.
Delaware Watershed Catalyst
Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI) aims to ensure that watersheds can
provide high quality and sufficient water quantity for healthy ecosystems and
human communities. As part of the DRWI, in addition to providing capital
grants to protect important watershed lands, OSI awards grants for conservation
and open space planning to further water resource protection by state, county
and municipal governments. Successful applicants will work with local and regional
government agencies to integrate water quality into strategic planning such as
Open Space Plans, ordinances or other mechanisms for protection. While the
projects may have broader purposes, OSI funds should be used for the portion of
a planning project that informs permanent protection of water resources.
DRWI catalyst grants ranging from $10,000 to $35,000 to eligible not-for-profit
conservation and educational organizations (501(c)(3)). While public agencies are not eligible to apply for funding,
OSI encourages proposals that include partnerships with public sector entities.
Please note that projects need not be confined to the DRWI clusters but
can be located anywhere in the Delaware River Basin.
recent example, view the case
study featuring Land Conservancy of New Jersey’s successful completion of a
resource protection strategy as part of Sussex
County’s 2016 Open Space Plan with funding from the Catalyst Planning Fund.
Applications for catalyst grants will be accepted between December 15, 2016 and March 1, 2017. You can access the RFP here. Online application can be accessed here.
Funds may be used only for projects
in the Delaware River watershed. OSI’s funding is targeted to eight clusters of sub-watersheds, constituting
approximately 25 percent of the total Delaware River Basin across three states.
Analysis has shown that investment in these targeted efforts to protect or
improve water quality in specific streams and rivers could deliver significant
OSI makes Capital grants in five
clusters where protecting forestland is critical to ensuring water quality:
Pocono and Kittatinny
New Jersey Highlands
Catalyst Grants can occur in any part of the Delaware River
Program Eligibility and Grant Criteria
Capital Grants may be used to
acquire permanent conservation easements and fee interest in land. Grants may
also be applied to cover transactional costs, including cost of appraisals,
surveys, title, environmental assessments and non-staff legal expenses, with
the latter not to exceed 2% of the parcel’s Fair Market Value.
Grant funds may not be used for
endowments, stewardship costs, staff time, fundraising, or other non-capital
To be eligible for funding, capital projects
must meet all of the Fund’s eligibility criteria detailed here.
Please note that OSI’s capital grants
focus primarily on forested landscapes. In 2015, OSI created a pilot program
for funding permanent protection of riparian buffers on active farms in
cooperation with NFWF. This pilot round has
been completed but OSI may provide additional funding rounds. For more information contact Bill Rawlyk.
OSI staff and the Fund’s Advisory Committee review and make recommendations on all grant applications.
Although there is no minimum or
maximum grant size, capital awards are typically between $75,000 and
$450,000 and catalyst grants range from $10,000 to $30,000.
Through the next two grant rounds,
OSI will award the remaining $3.75 million in capital land protection grants. It
is anticipated that, overall, a minimum of $500,000 will be awarded to
qualified projects in each cluster with the remaining funds to be granted to
conservation transactions of the greatest need and opportunity across the
target watershed clusters.
The Fund also makes short-term
low-interest loans to bridge gaps in public or private funding. Learn more
about OSI's Loan Program here.
Standards For Conservation Easements and Land
Conservation easements and
stewardship of funded projects should ensure protection of the land’s natural
resource values and maintain or enhance water quality. Capital projects must
meet the Fund’s conservation easement and land stewardship standards and guidelines. [download pdf of standards]
will review conservation easement and/or management plan language prior to
distribution of grant funds to ensure that the project meets the Fund’s
For this Fund, OSI gives strong preference to capital projects
with a 3:1 or greater financial match (each dollar from the Fund is matched by
three other dollars). Donations, grants and, in some cases, land can serve as
match. Prior to grant distribution, grantees must provide a detailed accounting
of all matching sources. Full details on match requirements are provided here.
Application Process and
All applications must be submitted
through OSI’s online application form. To apply click here. Applications are due by December 8, 2016 at 5 pm.
We encourage applicants to contact Bill Rawlyk,
OSI’s Mid-Atlantic Field Coordinator, before preparing a Capital grant
proposal. For Catalyst Grants contact Abigail Weinberg,
OSI Research Director.
To complete the application,
applicants must download the GIS Map Package and Guide. The Guide provides detailed steps for assessing the
project’s conservation value and examples of the maps that applicants are
required to produce. For assistance with the map package or with GIS please
contact Neil Jordan.
To be notified about future grant
rounds, please sign up here.
Please register HERE for
Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund Round IV Applicant Webinar. After
registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about
joining the webinar.
Rawlyk, Mid-Atlantic Field Coordinator
General information and application assistance:
Science, Data and Catalyst Grants
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