Funds available to help municipalities hold onto and buy open space land

Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has funds available to assist cities and towns and land conservation organizations with the purchase and preservation of open space lands through the state of Connecticut's Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition program.

“We are pleased to announce a new competitive grant round for projects that protect open space in Connecticut,” said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty. “Open space acquisitions funded under this grant program play a real part in enriching our lives by providing enjoyable place to be outdoors, protecting natural habitats for wildlife and bird species, as well as preserving our local agricultural heritage.

“These grants already have helped preserve thousands of beautiful and environmentally significant acres across the state and through the continued commitment of the governor and the legislature, we continue to move toward our goal of preserving 21% of land as open space by the year 2023.”

Funding for the grants will be made available from Community Investment Act (CIA) funds held by DEEP, and may be augmented by state bond funds.

The Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition grant program has played a key part in helping the state move forward toward achieving its open space protection goal, state officials said.

Connecticut's open space includes recreation and conservation land owned or protected by the state and land owned or protected by municipalities and others, often with state financial assistance. These purchases are helping Connecticut meet its open space goal of protecting 21% of Connecticut's land — or 673,210 acres — by the year 2023.

DEEP and its partners have protected nearly 500,000 acres already, putting us almost 74% toward the state's goal. Since the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition program began in 1998, DEEP has provided more than $109 million in grants to assist with the purchase of approximately 27,440 acres of open space across the state in 128 of Connecticut's cities and towns.