Grants will Enhance River Access, Education, and Natural Resources Protection
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that $750,000 in new competitive grant funding is now available to help communities in the Hudson River Estuary watershed increase resiliency to flooding, protect water quality, fish, and wildlife habitat, and improve recreational access and education for all, including people with disabilities and New Yorkers living in environmental justice communities. The grants are administered by DEC's Hudson River Estuary program.
"New York is making significant investments to improve community resiliency and protect our natural resources across the state and the grants announced today provide another boost to Hudson River and watershed communities," said Commissioner Seggos. "Working with local communities, environmental groups, and civic organizations, New York is improving the health of the Hudson River Estuary. This funding also supports the State's initiatives to improve and expand Hudson River recreation opportunities for people of all abilities and will increase access to New York's natural resources in environmental justice communities."
Three types of grant opportunities are available through three Requests for Applications (RFAs): Local Stewardship Planning; River Access; and River Education. The deadline for all applications is June 2, 2021, at 3 p.m. These RFAs are only available online through the NYS Grants Gateway. The Grants Gateway is a web-based grant management system that streamlines how grants are administered by the State of New York.
Hudson River Estuary Access
Approximately $200,000 is available for projects to provide new or improved accessibility at new or existing access sites for boating, fishing, swimming, and/or wildlife-dependent recreation along the shores of the Hudson River Estuary. This funding may be used to develop plans, purchase equipment, and/or the construction of physical improvements. The minimum grant award is $10,500, and the maximum grant amount is $50,000. Additional points are given to projects in environmental justice areas and projects that support regional economic development strategies.
Approximately $200,000 is available to support projects to enhance education about the estuary along the tidal waters of the Hudson and to make opportunities to learn about the Hudson River Estuary more accessible. The funding may be used to design, equip, and/or construct educational facilities (including signage, exhibits, and river-focused art installations), support development of plans or curriculum, purchase equipment, and/or develop websites or mobile phone apps. The minimum grant award is $10,500, and the maximum grant amount is $40,000. Additional points are given to projects in environmental justice areas and projects that support regional economic development strategies.
Local Stewardship Planning
Approximately $350,000 is available for four categories of local projects and programs to support planning for:
- Hudson River shoreline communities to adapt land uses and decision-making to factor in climate change, flooding, heat, drought, and sea-level rise projections;
- Making water infrastructure more resilient to flooding and/or sea-level rise;
- Watershed and source water management planning; and
- Conservation of natural resources by creating a natural resources inventory, open space inventory/index, open space plan, conservation overlay zone, open space funding feasibility study, or connectivity plan.
The minimum grant award is $10,500 and the maximum award is $50,000. Additional points are given to projects in environmental justice areas and projects that support regional economic development strategies.
These grants are funded by the State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Governor Cuomo's proposed 2021-22 Executive Budget includes sustained record funding for the EPF at $300 million.
All grant applicants, including government agencies and not-for-profit corporations, must be registered in the NYS Grants Gateway to be eligible to apply for any state grant opportunity. Not-For-Profit applicants are required to "prequalify" in the Grants Gateway system. For more information about Grants Gateway, please visit the grantsgateway.
General questions about the Hudson River Estuary grants application process may be directed to Susan Pepe, DEC's Estuary Grants Manager, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-3506; HREPgrants. A description of the grant and application process and the RFA document is available on the DEC website. The grants are provided through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and will be administered by DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program. To date, the Hudson River Estuary Program has awarded 557 grants totaling more than $23 million, including more than $10 million for 133 projects in environmental justice communities.