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.
OSI provides Catalyst Grants for
land conservation planning, research and communication efforts that support
water resource protection within the Delaware River Basin.
Eligible projects include, but are
not limited to, conservation planning and mapping, economic valuation of water
resource benefits, applied research, changes to public policies regulations and
ordinances, and development of markets for water resource protection.
The Catalyst Grant RFP can be downloaded here.
The Catalyst Grants application financial summary can be downloaded 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
In this grant round, OSI will make Capital grants in five clusters where protecting forestland is critical to
ensuring water quality:
Pocono and Kittatinny
New Jersey Highland
Catalyst Grants are available in
these five clusters and also in three additional clusters: Brandywine &
Christina, Middle Schuykill and Upstream Suburban Philadelphia.
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.
Note: This grant round focuses on
Funding for farmland protection is available through a
pilot program focused on linking agricultural restoration and protection
through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Information on these grants
is available from NFWF here.
OSI staff and the Fund’s Advisory Committee review
all grant applications and, based on that review, staff makes recommendations
to OSI’s Conservation Capital Committee.
Although there is no minimum or
maximum grant size, capital awards are typically between $75,000 and $450,000and catalyst grants range from $10,000
Through multiple grant rounds, OSI
will award the remaining $6.9 million in capital land protection grants. It is
anticipated that 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
OSI plans to initiate two rounds of
grant-making per year over the next two years.
Fund will also make available 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.
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 certain portions of 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.
OSI will accept grant applications
from February 26 to April 22.
To be notified about future grant
rounds, please sign up here.
Grant Fund Webinars
informational webinar on OSI’s Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund will
be held on March 2, 2015, at 1 pm. To register click here.
Rawlyk, Mid-Atlantic Field Coordinator
General information and application assistance:
Science, Data and Catalyst Grants:
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