Ecosystem Services in Working Lands: US Northeast State grants support public access to parks and trails

Programs focused on improving public access often involve efforts to acquire lands across landscapes.

• The USDA NRCS Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive program, for instance, provides funding to help state and tribal governments encourage landowners to allow public access to their land for hunting, fishing, and other wildlife-dependent recreation. • In Massachusetts, the Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) grant program and the Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant program have similar goals. While both grants assist cities and towns in acquiring and developing land for recreational purposes, the LAND grant program does so in order to establish a conservation restriction, while the PARC program does so to establish new parkland or to renovate an existing park. • The goal of the Pennsylvania Trail grant program, under the Department of Conservation of Natural Resources, is to have a trail within 15 minutes of every Pennsylvania citizen. The DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation provides grants to support the enhancement and expansion of non- motorized and motorized trails. Trail grants are awarded through the Community Conservation Partnerships program for such projects as land acquisition, planning, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance, and the development and operation of trail educational programs. Loans and grants to regulate present, recurring, and future hazards

Programs for mitigating hazards represent a significant portion of the programs available to supporting institutions in this category (n=43).

Mitigate existing hazards. Examples of programs that target existing hazards are the Delaware Hazardous Substance Site Cleanup Loan Program (HSSCLP), which provides loans to nonprofit organizations and businesses that are potentially responsible for site rehabilitation or brownfield developers with an executed agreement for investigating and remediating a hazardous substance release at a site. New York provides Technical Assistance Grants through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that give eligible not-for-profit community groups independent technical assistance with investigation and cleanup of state Superfund and Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) sites that pose a significant threat to public health or the environment. Address recurring hazards. Many programs that address recurring hazards are focused on flood and stormwater issues. The Washington D.C. Community Stormwater Solutions grant program funds activities such as educational events/workshops, the installation and maintenance of runoff-reducing green infrastructure, art installations, the restoration of habitat, litter or pollution reduction, and other projects that address stormwater issues. On a national scale, the Buzzards Bay National Estuary program provides municipal mini-grants for projects that target stormwater remediation, especially in areas whose discharge affects marine waters. It also funds wetland/open space/habitat restoration, preservation, acquisition and/or protection as well as the updating or digitizing of wetland boundaries or land elevations from wetland permits. Hazard preparedness and maintenance. In contrast to the above programs that are mostly state focused, many programs that address hazards preparedness/maintenance often do so at the national and state levels. The FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant program, for example, supports projects in states, local communities, tribes, and territories to reduce risks from disasters and natural hazards. The BRIC program does this through capability- and capacity-building in communities and by encouraging innovation and partnerships that enable large projects, maintain flexibility, and provide consistency. What is unique about the BRIC program is that it categorically shifts federal focus away from reactive disaster spending and toward research-supported, proactive investment in community resilience. In Maryland, the Community Resilience grant has similar aims. It supports and funds local communities and nonprofits in their efforts to prepare for coastal flooding, storms, and other climate change-related consequences, while enhancing community resilience and sustainability through natural, nature-based, and green infrastructure projects.


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