The Open Space Institute’s (OSI) Bayshore
Highlands Fund (the “Fund”) supports projects that accelerate strategic land
conservation in the New Jersey Bayshore and the Pennsylvania Highlands.
Capitalized with a grant from the
William Penn Foundation, the Fund makes grants and loans to qualified
organizations for land acquisition through a competitive process that is guided
by an advisory committee comprised of experts with knowledge of planning,
natural resources, conservation policy and philanthropy.
and Agricultural Focus
In both the NJ Bayshore and PA
Highlands, the Fund gives preference to projects in defined focus areas. We
acknowledge the important work being done in other focus areas that were eligible
to apply in earlier rounds: Cape May, Maurice
River Mantua Creek, Oldmans and Raccoon Creeks in the NJ Bayshore; and Lancaster
Welsh Mountain, Unami Hills,
Northampton Highlands, Oley Hills and South Mountain in the PA Highlands. However, OSI is not accepting applications in
these areas for this funding round. OSI
staff and advisors agreed to target funding into fewer areas to achieve more
Applications will be accepted for
projects only in the following focus areas:
In the NJ Bayshore: Burden Hill, Cohansey River and Mannington
In the PA Highlands, Upper
Brandywine Agricultural Region, and the Hopewell Big Woods.
In prior grant rounds, the Fund
provided support for the protection of environmental resources, such as
forests, biologically important lands, and trails. The goal
of the current grant round is to protect farmland with an emphasis on improving
water quality through permanent protection of riparian buffers, forests and
wetlands on working farms and encouraging implementation of whole farm
OSI will give
preference to projects that have high likelihood of success, demonstrate
sufficient resource value and scale, and will accelerate conservation in the
focus area, resulting in significant impact.
Within each of the focus regions, GIS mapping
and analysis have identified priority preservation areas based on resource
quality and connectivity to existing nodes of preserved land. A GIS map package
facilitates the creation of maps to identify priority preservation areas, and
boundaries for each focus area and can be downloaded at a link supplied in the
Applicants may also submit a shapefile and have OSI produce
a map showing its location and relationship to focus areas.
Applications should fall within
priority preservation areas.
Eligibility and Grant Criteria
this funding round, OSI is accepting only requests for support for the
acquisition of fee or permanent easements on agricultural land. To be eligible
for funding, all projects must:
- Lie within an OSI Focus Area identified above.
- Be 30 acres or greater;
- Contain 50% or more of Prime or Statewide Important
implementation of whole farm conservation plans as part of an overall conservation strategy to protect water
quality on the farm.
will be given to projects that:
riparian buffer easements that will ensure stewardship of stream
corridors, floodplains and wetlands on working farms to protect water quality.
Eligible Projects will be evaluated
against the following criteria:
- Protect an important agricultural resource, as
identified in plans conducted by public and/or nonprofit agencies;
- Enlarge, build upon or connect existing preserved land,
public or private within a documented, regionally important agricultural
- Be adjacent to stream corridors; and have the ability
to protect watershed resources and water quality.
- Demonstrate an urgency and/or timeliness in proceeding,
i.e., where there is significant but manageable threat or unique opportunity
- Increase or diversify constituencies and funding for
conservation, including: (1) piloting new forms of funding; (2) advancing
promising models/practices of conservation finance; (3)
demonstrating ways to link conservation and community economic
sustainability, e.g., agricultural viability, diversification of
agricultural operations, ecotourism, increased water quality and quantity,
and creating/retaining recreation-related jobs and revenues, etc.
- Catalyze, complement or reinforce William Penn
Foundation grants to improve land use planning and land management;
- Ensure that planned long-term stewardship and
management goals for the property can be achieved;
- Leverage a minimum of five other matching dollars; and
- Be spearheaded by nonprofit organizations with the
capacity and financial ability to execute the transaction in a
Funding and Awards
OSI will award up to $1.16 million
remaining in the Fund for permanent protection of farmland and associated water
Overall, the Fund’s $5 million is
intended to leverage another $25 million in other public and private financial
support secured by the applicants to help implement projects. Projects are
reviewed by a regional advisory committee that recommends grants and loans for
approval to OSI. Grant awards are typically between $50,000 and $200,000 but
can be larger based on quality of the project submitted.
The Fund may also make available
short-term low-interest loans to bridge gaps in public or private funding.
Through funded transactions, the
Fund seeks to:
- Promote the connection between land conservation and
- Enhance conservation connectivity by supporting, in a
limited number of places, transactions that are contiguous and/or adjacent
to one another or existing conserved parcels
- Strengthen or develop new constituencies and
partnerships for conservation
- Pilot, where possible, innovative funding mechanisms
- Attract new funding to both regions
- Catalyze other land conservation projects
Permitted Use of Grant Funds
Grants may be used to acquire
permanent conservation easements and fee interest in land. These grant funds
are not to be used for endowments, stewardship costs, staff time or other
non-capital project expenses.
Grants may also be applied to cover
transactional costs, including cost of appraisals, surveys, title, and
environmental assessments. Up to 2% of the total project cost may be used to
cover non-staff legal costs. Though the Fund will not provide direct grants to
public agencies, nonprofit groups that are eligible for funding are encouraged
to work in partnership with public agencies on transactions. The Fund requires that all nonprofits
receiving grants must hold initial title to the project being funded.
The following can count as match for
the current project:
- Public funds (federal, state and local) and private
funds from individuals and foundations used for the acquisition of fee
interest or a conservation easement on the subject property or on eligible
- Transaction costs, including appraisals, environmental
assessment, title insurance, recording fees, and survey costs.
- The value of a donated conservation easement or bargain
sale on the subject property or fifty percent of the value of eligible Match Properties.
The following do not qualify as
- Ecological or land restoration dollars
- Stewardship endowments and land management expenses
- Staff time, travel or expenses
Match Property Eligibility
To be eligible as match, property must 1) be adjacent or proximate to the
subject property, 2) meet the Fund’s criteria, 3) generally be part of a larger
plan to conserve the subject property, and 4) close prior to the closing of the
subject property but not more than one year before date of application. 5) Must
not have received a Bayshore-Highlands grant for its protection. In addition,
to determine eligibility of match parcels OSI will consider whether the match
and the subject properties lie in the same Bayshore-Highlands Fund Focus Area.
Timing and Completeness of Projects
Projects must be well-defined and
applicants must demonstrate a high likelihood of success. Specifically,
projects with completed appraisals and signed contract agreements will be given
preference. Projects must close no later than 18 months of OSI Board approval.
Projects which close before the application deadline are not eligible for
Submission of Supporting Documents
If a grant is approved, the
applicant will be provided with a grant checklist of items required to process
the grant agreement, including updated versions of supporting documents prior
to project closing and disbursement of the grant.
To minimize duplication, please
submit documents only once unless they are updated prior to signing the grant
agreement. When all required documents are received, OSI will forward a grant
agreement to the grantee. For phased transactions, the grantee must provide documents
pertaining to each phase.
Prior to applying, prospective
applicants are encouraged to contact Bill Rawlyk, to clarify any questions and
to confirm that project meets eligibility requirements. If the project is
eligible, applicants will be provided with access to OSI’s online grant system.
The application must be submitted online and you can find it here.
Bayshore Highlands grant applications are by invitation only at this time. (11/2014)
Download a PDF copy of the
All applications must be submitted
through our online service. For questions regarding the program and application
process, please see contacts
Download Map Package here.
- Download and save the Map Package to a known folder on your computer that is easily accessible.
- After the file is saved, open the folder and click on the Map Package (the .mpk file). Note: You cannot access this file through ArcMap so it is not necessary to open the program. ArcMap will open automatically when you click on the file.
- Once the Map Package opens, it will look like a regular .mxd file. You will be able to access all the data and manipulate the symbology.
- Save the map as an .mxd file
Please Note: If you are running
ArcMap 9.3 or an earlier version you will not be able to open the Map Package. For
GIS assistance please contact Neil Jordan (email@example.com).
Download text document explaining sources
of map-layers here.
For questions regarding the
program and application process, please contact:
Bill Rawlyk, Middle Atlantic Field
Open Space Institute
62 Hampton Road
Pittstown, NJ 08867
Office - 908-628-4299
Cell – 908-642-4747
General Information &
212-290-8200 x 311
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