By Gwendolyn Craig
Adirondack-region land trusts were among 12 recipients of Nature Conservancy grant funding for land protection and planning in the face of climate change and forest fragmentation.
The grant program is called the “2021 Resilient and Connected Network” and is expected to help protect more than 2,200 acres. In this latest round of grant funding, the conservancy awarded nearly $300,000 in flexible funding meant to help protect properties that link to core forests in the state. Many of the lands identified in this round and in The Nature Conservancy’s new online mapping tool, eventually lead to the Adirondacks.
Basil Seggos, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said the program in its 65 years of existence has conserved, restored and enhanced landscape connectivity.
“New York is providing our partners with critical support for these efforts to help ensure the survival of wildlife and plant species currently threatened by habitat fragmentation,” Seggos added, in a news release.
The Lake George Land Conservancy, Saratoga PLAN (Preserving Land and Nature) and Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust each received $25,000 grants. In the Capital Region, the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, Rensselaer Land Trust and Rensselaer Plateau Alliance each received $25,000. The Thousand Islands Land Trust also received that amount of funding.
All of those land trusts are looking at protecting parcels that eventually links into the Adirondack Park.
“The most effective conservation comes from collaboration, and this grant program is designed to provide support for a wide-range of hard-to-fund needs like stewardship endowments, as well as advance common goals based on the resilient and connected lands science to drive future conservation work,” said Stuart Gruskin, chief conservation and external affairs officer at Nature Conservancy in New York, in a news release.
The Nature Conservancy also highlights the program as a way to bring partners together on the impacts of climate change. As temperatures rise, studies have shown that animals and plants are migrating north. While the grant funding does go toward land acquisition, it can also assist with developing conservation plans among stakeholders.
So far, the network the Nature Conservancy has mapped covers 33% of the continental United States.