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Thursday, July 27, 2017

$4 Million to Help Communities, Local Groups Protect Open Space. Maybe even buy Copar!

Matching grants made possible by the voter-approved 2016 Green Economy Bond

Image result for copar quarry
The Copar Quarry in Bradford - it'd be great if this place could be publicly owned and reclaimed ( photo)
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced $4 million in matching grants is available to help communities and local organizations protect valuable green space throughout the state. 

A Request for Proposals (RFP) is now open, with a deadline of October 27, 2017

The funding is made possible by the 2016 Green Economy Bond, which was passed overwhelmingly by Rhode Island voters and invests $35 million in improving recreational facilities, cleaning up lands and waters, and preserving open space.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This could help Westerly and Charlestown achieve their stated goal to end, once and for all, the nightmare of the notorious Copar quarry on the Charlestown-Westerly line. CLICK HERE for all our Copar coverage. The property was recently appraised at $2 million.

None of erstwhile state Representative Blake “Flip” Filippi’s legal and legislative schemes have worked. The Comolli family, owners of the site, are still looking for another company to lease and re-open the quarry. The towns finally came to realize that a “Whalerock” solution may be the best and only way to end this long running issue.   

DEM might want to embrace such a proposal, since Copar was a pain in the keester to them, too. DEM simply can't do much to enforce existing law at the quarry. Buying the quarry site would link to adjacent state-owned protected space. DEM help in funding the acquisition would help to get them off the hook. – Will Collette

Rhode Island's wealth of historic parks, bikeways and green spaces provide for public enjoyment - in addition to improving the health of the environment, strengthening the state's climate resilience, and supporting the economy. 

Since 1985, over 10,000 acres of land have been protected. As part of this grant round, awards up to $400,000 - which may cover up to half of the project cost - will help preserve lands that offer significant natural, ecological or agricultural value by direct purchase or conservation easement.

Projects that connect or expand existing protected lands will be prioritized. And climate change-related impacts of a project will be considered.

In addition to these grants, funding is available to cover some costs associated with appraisal, title and survey services. Restrictions apply, and applicants are encouraged to review the full RFP available at

Electronic applications are encouraged and should be forwarded to Michelle Sheehan in the Division of Planning and Development at by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 27.

Proposals and supporting materials may also be mailed to Michelle's attention at DEM, Division of Planning & Development, 235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908. 

Municipalities, land trusts, and nonprofit land conservation organizations are eligible to apply. Applications will be reviewed and ranked by the Natural Heritage Preservation Advisory Committee, with final awards to be made by the State Natural Heritage Preservation Commission.

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.

Related links

Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management, online: