Adirondack North Country gets $300K in NYS conservation grants
The state is announcing today that the Adirondack North Country region will be getting $307,700 in conservation grants (the grants total about $1.4 million statewide.) The grants will go to not-for-profit land trusts; according to a press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, they’ll be almost matched by private and local funding. In the release Cuomo says land trusts
continue to make a difference in local communities, maximizing public and private dollars to protect and preserve our state’s natural resources for generations to come…Through partnerships like these, New York is utilizing the Environmental Protection Fund to provide critical support for many environmental and open space programs, generating revenue, creating jobs, and ensuring a cleaner and healthier New York.
The release also says this year’s budget provides a $9 million boost to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), and that the grants
will advance regional economic development goals by strengthening partnerships with local and state governments and advancing locally supported efforts to protect prime farmland, enhance public access and recreation opportunities, and conserve private lands prioritized in New York State’s Open Space Conservation Plan and state wildlife action plan.
Here’s where in our region that money is going (view the full list): Champlain Area Trails is getting $42,000; Ducks Unlimited in Jefferson County is getting $16,500; Indian River Lakes Conservancy is getting $16,500; Lake Placid Land Conservancy is getting $75,000; Ontario Bays Initiative is getting $3,000; Thousand Islands Land Trust is getting $70,200; and the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust is getting $44,000.
With that kind of conservation spending, we’ll have this climate change problem fixed in no time…
Let’s not kid ourselves, the primary role of these “grants” is to buy votes and political support for the current State administration. It fits in perfectly with the “lotto” concept of governance that so many people find attractive. If I see Cuomo handing over one more over-sized check, I’m going to be sick.
Actually, these are among the least political of state grant awards. The New York State Conservation Partnership Program is jointly administered by DEC and the Land Trust Alliance. The award decisions are made by an independent committee after a rigorous applications process. Land trusts in New York are generally stronger and more effective than their peers in other states because they have had access to capacity-building funds that have enabled them to preserve hundreds of thousands of acres of forests, farms, wildlife habitat, scenic areas, community gardens, riverfronts, and historic lands across New York State.
I seriously doubt there is anything resembling an “independent committee” anywhere in NYS government. I also don’t like to see tax expenditures categorized as “awards” – makes it seem like someone won the lottery. State government shouldn’t be run like a game of chance.