Highlands Conservation

To conserve priority lands and natural resources and recognize the importance of the water, forest, agricultural, wildlife, recreational, and cultural resources, and the national significance of the Highlands region of the United States.

Preserve and protect high-priority conservation land in
the Highland regions.
Examples of Funded Projects

Fiscal Year 2017: In FY 17, Highlands Conservation Act funding was awarded to the following project areas: Head of the Highlands, Connecticut (CT DEEP); Musconetcong-Upper Raritan Watershed, New Jersey (NJ Highlands Council); Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve and Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park, New York (NY OPRHP); Schuylkill Highlands, Pennsylvania (PA DCNR).

Fiscal Year 2018: In FY 18, if funding is available, the Program anticipates funding State land acquisition projects that protect land of high conservation value in the Highlands regions of Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.

Fiscal Year 2019: In FY 19, if funding is available, the Program anticipates funding State land acquisition projects that protect land of high conservation value in the Highlands regions of Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.


Agency - Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior protects and provides access to the Nation's natural and cultural heritage, including responsibilities to Indian tribes and island communities. Departmental goals include resource protection and usage, overseeing recreational opportunities, serving communities and excellence in management.

Office - See Regional Agency Offices.



Selected Recipients for this Program


RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Energy & Environmental Protection, Connecticut Department Of $ 1,460,000   2018-10-012022-10-01
Conservation & Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Department Of $ 1,460,000   2018-10-012022-10-01
Conservation & Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Department Of $ 2,420,000   2016-11-232021-09-30
Parks, Recreation And Historic Preservation, New York State Office Of $ 4,840,000   2016-11-232020-11-23
Conservation & Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Department Of $ 2,450,493   2017-10-012020-10-31
New Jersey Highlands Council $ 1,473,000   2018-10-012020-10-01
New Jersey Highlands Council $ 528,000   2018-10-012020-10-01
New Jersey Highlands Council $ 1,460,000   2018-10-012020-10-01
New Jersey Highlands Council $ 1,054,000   2018-10-012020-10-01
New Jersey Highlands Council $ 160,000   2018-10-012020-10-01



Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2017: In FY 17, the program received 4 applications (one from each State in the Highlands Region) and issued 4 awards, with funding distributed evenly among States. Total funding awarded was $9,680,000. All funds have been obligated. Fiscal Year 2018: In FY 18, we expect to receive applications from 4 states and are uncertain of the number awards that will be issued. Fiscal Year 2019: In FY 19, we expect to receive applications from 4 states and are uncertain of the number awards that will be issued.

Uses and Use Restrictions

A state or state agency with authority to own and manage land located within the Highlands region may use a land conservation partnership project to acquire conservation-valued land, either through fee acquisition or conservation easement, from a willing seller to permanently protect, conserve, or preserve land.

Project lands of conservation value are identified by the U. S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, with input from pertinent units of local government and the public.

The list of lands of conservation value is provided to the governors of the states within the Highlands region.

The list of projects to be funded is submitted to the Secretary of the Interior, who, along with the Secretary of Agriculture, submits the eligible project list to Congress.

The Federal grant share of the land conservation partnership project will not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of partnership to acquire conservation-valued land.

100% of funding is discretionary.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Any state or state agency with authority to own and manage land located within the Highlands region for conservation purposes may apply by identifying the source of non-Federal funds, describing the management objectives for the project land, identifying the purpose of the use of the land, and providing that the land will not be converted, used or disposed of for a purpose inconsistent with land conservation.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Beneficiaries are states or state agencies with authority to own and manage land within the Highlands region for conservation purposes, including the Palisades Interstate Park Commission.

Credentials/Documentation

Must be a state or or state agency with the authority to own and manage land within the Highlands region for conservation purposes. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

The U.S.

Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, is responsible for conducting the resource assessment and preparing the Highlands project lands of conservation value update for the states involved.

The U.S.

Forest Service will identify in the update the lands that have high conservation value.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. It is the responsibility of the Highland states to submit projects to the Department of the Interior for funding. The Highland states may do this individually or they may jointly submit land conservation partnership projects.

Award Procedures

The U.S. Forest Service is responsible for doing the resource assessment and preparing the priority land update for the states involved. The U.S. Forest Service will identify in the update the lands that have high conservation value. Only lands available from willing sellers will be considered in the program. The Department of the Interior (DOI) has the sole responsibility for project grants. The states will apply directly to DOI for project funding. The DOI will award grants to the States or their entities for the acquisition of land, or interests in land, for conservation purposes in the Highlands.

Deadlines

Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.

Authorization

Highlands Conservation Act, Pub. L. 108-421, 118 STAT. 2375, 2(2); and Emergency Wetlands Resources Act - National Wetlands Inventory, 16 U.S.C. 3901 and 3931-3932.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Undetermined for FY 17.

Appeals

Not Applicable.

Renewals

Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program. Matching Requirements: The Federal share of the project cost shall not exceed 50 percent of the total project cost. MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance: Varies. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Funds are disbursed to recipients as requested and in accordance with 2 CFR 200, Subpart E-Cost Principles, or as otherwise prescribed in program-specific legislation or special award terms.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Program reports are not applicable.

Cash reports are not applicable.

Interim performance reports are required for each grant award annually within 30 days after the anniversary date.

A final performance report is due within 90 days after the award end date.

SF-425, Federal Financial Reports are required for each grant award annually within 30 days after the anniversary date.

A final SF-425, Federal Financial Report is due within 90 days after the award end date.

Recipients are responsible for monitoring and reporting performance each award and sub-award under this program in accordance with 2 CFR 200 and 2 CFR Part 170.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.

Records

Cost records must be maintained separately for each grant award. Records, accounts, and supporting documents must be retained for three years after submission of the final reports.

Financial Information

Account Identification

14-5020-0-1-806.

Obigations

(Project Grants (Discretionary)) FY 17 $4,840,000; FY 18 est $0; and FY 19 est $0 - Project Grants (Discretionary): FY17 $4,840,000; FY18 Unknown; FY19 Unknown. We are anticipating $4,840,000 of previously obligated funds to be disbursed this year, and are unclear if funds will be available in FY 18 and 19.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Range : $646,600 to $1,940,000; Average $970,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Per http://www.doi.gov/parnlTermsandConditions.htrnl, acceptance of a Federal Financial award from the Department of the Interior carries with it the responsibility to be aware of and comply with the terms and conditions of the award. Acceptance is defined as starting work, drawing down funds, or accepting the award via electronic means. Awards are based on the application submitted to, and as approved by the Department of the Interior and are subject to the terms and conditions incorporated in to the Award either directly or by reference to the following: Program legislation/regulation, assurances, special conditions, the Code of Federal Regulations, and other regulatory requirements, as applicable.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices.

Headquarters Office

Colleen Sculley US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, Massachusetts 01035 Email: Colleen_Sculley@fws.gov Phone: (413)253-8501 Fax: (413)253-8300

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The U.S. Forest Service is responsible for completing the resource assessment and preparing the priority lands update for the states involved. The U.S. Forest Service will identify in the update the lands that have high conservation value. The Highland states meet annually and apply directly to DOI for funding from the project list of lands provided by U.S. Forest Service. Only lands with high conservation value that can be obtained by fee acquisition or conservation easement from willing sellers will be considered.



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