Land and Water Conservation Fund Grants

Land and Water Conservation Fund logoThe Department of Natural Resources Land Acquisition and Planning Unit is now accepting proposals for federal FY2020 Land and Water Conservation Fund assistance grants. Municipalities and counties are eligible for up to a 50 percent matching fund assistance from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Please read the FY20 Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant Information Packet to prepare for the FY2020 funding round. This information packet includes examples of project eligibility, grant acceptance commitments and restrictions, and scoring details. Preliminary Applications are due by 5 p.m., September 18, 2019.

Background Information

Authorized by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 established a federally funded program to provide 50/50 matching grants to state and local governments for the purpose of acquiring and/or developing public outdoor recreational areas and facilities. The program is administered nationally by the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service with the supporting revenues generated from offshore oil and gas leases. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is intended to create and maintain a nationwide legacy of quality public outdoor recreational resources as well as to stimulate non-federal investments in the purchase, development, maintenance and protection of these highly valued outdoor recreational areas. Per section 6(f)(3) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, “No property acquired or developed with assistance under this section shall, without the approval of the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, be converted to other than public outdoor recreation uses.”

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is managed at the state level, by the state governments. In order to be eligible to receive a program apportionment from the National Park Service, each state must develop and maintain a Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan and appoint an official State Liaison Officer. All eligible projects must reflect the states’ policies and priorities of its most current Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan; in Maryland this plan is the 2019 – 2023 Maryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan.

Municipalities and counties may apply for up to 50 percent matching fund assistance from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In Maryland, the Department of Natural Resources, Land Acquisition and Planning Unit, is responsible for managing the program, coordinating grant rounds for project funding, and monitoring past project sites for program compliance in Maryland. Since its inception, the Land and Water Conservation Fund program has funded over 400 acquisition and development projects throughout the state of Maryland.

Kemp Mill Park photo by Margaret Lasher 

Application Submission Information for Grant Round Federal FY20

Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting Preliminary Application forms for Grant Round Federal FY20. Preliminary Applications are due by 5 p.m., September 18, 2019. Municipalities and counties are eligible for up to a 50 percent matching fund assistance from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Program Open Space Local funds or Community Parks and Playground grant funds may be used as the match. If using Program Open Space Local funds as match for a development project, please note that county match requirements will apply. The maximum Land and Water Conservation Fund assistance grant request is $1,000,000 ($2,000,000 minimum total project cost) and the minimum Land and Water Conservation Fund assistance grant request is $50,000 ($100,000 minimum total project cost). Exceptions may be granted by the Department in certain circumstances based on project applications received and available grant funds.

Upon receipt, preliminary applications will be reviewed and scored to determine eligibility. Once a project is determined eligible, Maryland Department of Natural Resources will invite those applicants with the highest grant score to officially apply for Land and Water Conservation Fund assistance. National Park Service will review project applications, and if approved for Land and Water Conservation Fund assistance, will provide a project start date. Applicants should be aware that development and acquisition projects must be completed within three years from the provided start date. Only expenditures incurred within the approved Land and Water Conservation Fund project period are eligible for reimbursement. Grantees do not receive funds at the time of approval. The applicant must incur 100 percent of the total project cost; submit evidence of eligible expenditures throughout project implementation and payment thereof; and request reimbursement from Maryland Department of Natural Resources after the project has been completed and National Park Service has officially closed the grant. Expenses incurred prior to authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant agreement or after the expiration date are ineligible for reimbursement.

Eligible Project Types

Projects must be in direct support of public outdoor recreational uses of related properties and/or facilities. Please read the FY20 LWCF Grant Informational Packet for examples of projects and more details.

How to Compete for a LWCF Federal FY 20 Local Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant

  1. Read the Competitive Grant Information Packet and review the National Parks Service, Land and Water Conservation Fund Manual as needed. The Manual includes details about the program, grant eligibility, program rules and regulations, and examples of eligible projects.

  2. Complete the ‘Preliminary Application’ form, found at the bottom of this page. Email one PDF to Ingrid Brofman subject ‘LWCF Federal FY20 Grant – your jurisdiction name and title of project.’ Due date is September 18, 2019 by 5 p.m.

  3. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will formally invite those selected to apply. Please note that the Department of Natural Resources will request a site inspection before final selections have been made.

Examples of Land and Water Conservation Fund Assisted Grants in Maryland

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park
 

State Projects:

  • Development of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center
  • Acquisition and development of Sandy Point State Park
  • Development of Dan’s Mountain Swimming Pool
  • Acquisition of Tuckahoe State Park

LWCF-Isabel-Gatewood.pngLocal Projects:

  • Acquisition of Broadford Recreational Park, Town of Oakland
  • Acquisition and development of Bellevue Park, Talbot County
  • Acquisition of Ferry Point Park, Queen Anne County
  • Development in Wills Memorial Park, Charles County



Application Materials and Other Information


Questions about the grant opportunity may be directed to:

Ingrid Brofman at ingrid.brofman@maryland.gov or (410) 260-8461