Protection of Hawai‘i lands having valuable cultural, natural, or agricultural resources can be achieved through grants from the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Legacy Land Conservation Program (LLCP).
Applications can now be made for annual grants from the State Land Conservation Fund for the acquisition and conservation of: watersheds; coastal areas, beaches, and ocean access; habitat protection; cultural and historic sites; recreational and public hunting areas; parks; natural areas; agricultural production; and open spaces and scenic resources.
State agencies, county agencies, and non-profit land conservation organizations may apply. Proposed projects may include acquisition of fee title or conservation easements. County agencies and non-profit project applicants must be able to provide at least 25 percent of the total project costs.
The 2015-2016 grant program may provide up to a total of $4.5 million in grants, awarded through a competitive process and subject to any budget restrictions. Funds are from the State’s land conveyance tax; ten percent of these funds are set aside annually for the purpose of acquiring lands to protect Hawai‘i’s unique and valuable resources. Since its inception in 2006, the Legacy Land Conservation Program has awarded funds for the protection of over 20,000 acres of lands having natural, cultural, and agricultural resource value, leveraging about two matching federal, private, and county dollars for every State dollar spent.
“Legacy Land grants help local agencies and organizations protect the lands and resources that improve the health and quality of life for Hawaii’s residents and visitors — parks for outdoor recreation, forested watersheds for clean drinking water, cultural landscapes for preservation of heritage, and agricultural lands for fresh local food,” stated DLNR Chairperson Suzanne Case.
“Through Legacy Land, the Department forms partnerships to share the costs and responsibilities of purchasing and protecting these lands for the public, allowing the State to secure more of these resources for the public with a smaller portion of funding,” Case said.
Project applications will be reviewed by the Legacy Land Conservation Commission, which will nominate projects for funding. Projects are subject to the approval of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, consultation with the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, review by the Department of the Attorney General and the approval of the Governor. Final awards are subject to the availability of funds.
Pursuant to pending 2015 legislation (Senate Bill 284, CD1), an application may be submitted by a nonprofit land conservation organization to seek $1,500,000 in funding for the Turtle Bay Special Fund to fund the State’s acquisition of lands and a conservation easement at Turtle Bay, O‘ahu.
Starting June 1, 2015, the forms and instructions for the 2015-2016 grant cycle will be available at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/