Hollenbeck Preserve, Canaan (Alden Warner).

Funding programs for open space protection in Connecticut include support from the federal government, state agencies, and private organizations. These programs are available to land trusts and other conservation organizations for increasing the pace of land acquisition, improving land stewardship, and various capacity building needs. Please use the program summaries below as a starting point for your own grant research and inquiries.


US Department of Agriculture

Forest Service, Forest Legacy Program: The Forest Legacy Program is a federal program administered in partnership with Connecticut and other states to protect and steward environmentally-significant forests. Landowners, in cooperation with a conservation organization or state or local agencies, may apply.

Natural Resources Conservation Service, CT Program: The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers a variety of programs in Connecticut, providing financial assistance for agricultural management, wildlife habitat conservation, water quality and watershed protection, and other environmental projects.

Long Island Sound Study

Long Island Sound Futures Fund: The Long Island Sound Study is a partnership of federal and state agencies, conservation organizations and individuals committed to protecting and restoring the Long Island Sound. Funding is available for a variety of collaborative conservation projects focused on coastal and riverine resources, including watershed planning and wetland and estuary protection, restoration and stewardship.

National Fish and Wildlife Service

North American Wetlands Conservation Act Grants: The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) includes two competitive matching grants programs for the protection and stewardship of wetlands for benefit of wetlands-associated migratory birds and other wildlife.


CT Department of Environmental Protection

Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program: The Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program provides financial assistance to municipalities and nonprofit land conservation organizations to acquire land for open space.

Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program: Through the Recreation and Natural Heritage Program, the DEP acquires open space of “statewide significance that represents the ecological and cultural diversity of Connecticut, with a focus on unique features such as rivers, mountains, rare natural communities, scenic qualities, historic significance, connections to other protected land, and access to water.”

CT Department of Agriculture

Farmland Preservation Program: The Department of Agriculture supports the protection of Connecticut’s farmland resources through the purchase of development rights to agricultural properties. The landowner continues to own and use the land, within the limits of restrictions on non-agricultural activities.


Community Foundations: Many community foundations in Connecticut have programs for capacity building and other conservation funding needs. The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy provides a list of these foundations and their areas of service.

Connecticut Land Trust Challenge Fund: The Connecticut Land Trust Challenge Fund is a partnership between the Land Trust Alliance and the Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC), providing grants of up to $10,000 for individual land trusts or up to $20,000 for two or more land trusts working on a collaborative project. The goal of the Challenge Fund is to build long-term strength and effectiveness of land conservation organizations in Connecticut and to advance land trust efforts to implement Land Trust Standards and Practices.

New England Grassroots Environment Fund: Through small grants of up to $2,500, the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund supports community environmental projects aimed at its mission “to energize and nurture long-term civic engagement in local initiatives that create and maintain healthy, just, safe and environmentally sustainable communities.”

Northeast Utilities System Environmental Community Grant Program: The Environmental Community Grant Program awards $250 to $1,000 to local and grassroots projects for environmental stewardship and education.