Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have come to a final agreement on a state budget that includes historic investments in New York’s environment, including $2.5 billion for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, a second year of record funding for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), a commitment to the Empire State Trail, and a continuation of capital projects in the New York State Parks system.
The budget continues EPF funding at $300 million which includes $20 million for farmland protection and $2.5 million for an expanded New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP). NYSCPP is an innovative public-private partnership between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Land Trust Alliance’s New York program. This grant program offers competitive matching grants to qualified New York land trusts to advance land conservation, economic development, farmland protection, community conservation and recreation and tourism.
A very significant accomplishment of this budget cycle is passage of the $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act (CWIA) which will allocate $110 million over the next five years to municipalities and non-profit organizations for source water protection. The new fund features several different categories, including unprecedented funding for conservation easements and land acquisition to prevent contamination at its source and expand or enhance drinking water quality protection.
“We’re grateful to the Governor and the Legislature for making a significant investment to ensure the future of New York’s land and water resources,” said Andy Zepp, Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Land Trust. “Here in the Finger Lakes, these funds will help us maintain water quality while conserving our most productive farms and expanding trails and other opportunities for outdoor recreation.”