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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Will Charlestown get a piece of this?

DEM Announces $4 Million More in Funding to Help Communities, Local Groups Protect Open Space

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The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced that $4 million in open space matching grants is available to help communities and local organizations protect valuable green space throughout the state.

The Open Space Grant Program's 2019 grant round is now open, with a deadline of October 25, 2019. Funding provided through the 2016 Green Economy Bond and the 2018 Green Economy and Clean Water Bond – which Rhode Island voters approved by a margin of almost 80 percent last November – is capitalizing the grants.

"We're excited to partner with cities, towns, and organizations that work hard to protect properties in their communities that delight families, support wildlife, and plan for impacts from climate change," said DEM Director Janet Coit.

"Preserving Rhode Island's precious resources and increasing the public's access and enjoyment of our natural lands benefit our residents and our economy many times over. We look forward to partnering with the successful applicants on this new grant opportunity."

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.

Climate change-related impacts of a project will be considered and projects that connect or expand existing protected lands will be prioritized. 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 grant guidelines available at

Electronic applications are encouraged and should be forwarded to Michelle Sheehan in the Division of Planning & Development at by 4 PM on Friday, October 25.

Proposals and supporting materials also may be mailed to Ms. Sheehan'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.

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 11,000 acres of land have been protected through the Local Open Space Grant program, including nearly 1,700 acres over the past five years. Places used by residents and tourists alike for outdoor recreation, including iconic properties such as Weetoomoo Woods and Pardon Gray in Tiverton, Mount Hope Farm in Bristol, Third Beach in Middletown, and Mercy Woods in Cumberland, all have been protected through this program.

These natural assets spur the economy by providing opportunities for the public to camp, fish, hunt, hike, and enjoy the great outdoors while generating revenue. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation in RI generates $2.4 billion in consumer spending and supports 24,000 local jobs
DEM's Green Space programs – which include Local Open Space, Outdoor Recreation, and Recreational Trail grants – fund land conservation, recreational land acquisition and development, and recreational trail development and improvement statewide.

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

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