DEM Announces Availability of $3 Million to Help Communities, Local Groups Protect Open Space

The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces that $3 million in matching grants is available to help communities and local organizations protect valuable green space throughout Rhode Island. The grant round is now open, with a deadline of October 29, 2021. Funding provided through the 2016 Green Economy Bond and the 2018 Green Economy and Clean Water Bond – which Rhode Island voters approved by a margin of almost 80 percent last November – is capitalizing the grants.

In addition to these grants, funding is available to cover some costs associated with appraisal, title and survey services. Restrictions apply, and applicants are encouraged to review the grant guidelines available at

Electronic applications are encouraged and should be forwarded to Michelle Sheehan in the Division of Planning & Development at by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 29. Proposals and supporting materials may also be mailed to Michelle’s attention at DEM, Division of Planning & Development, 235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908. Municipalities, land trusts, and nonprofit land conservation organizations are eligible to apply. Applications will be reviewed and ranked by the Natural Heritage Preservation Advisory Committee, with final awards to be made by the State Natural Heritage Preservation Commission.

Rhode Island’s wealth of historic parks, bikeways and green spaces provide for public enjoyment – in addition to improving the health of the environment, strengthening the state’s climate resilience, and supporting the economy. Since 1985, over 12,000 acres of land have been protected. As part of this grant round, awards up to $400,000 – which may cover up to half of the project cost – will help preserve lands that offer significant natural, ecological or agricultural value by direct purchase or conservation easement. Projects that connect or expand existing protected lands will be prioritized. And climate change-related impacts of a project will be considered.

DEM’s Green Space programs – which include Local Open Space, Outdoor Recreation, and Recreational Trail grants – fund land conservation, recreational land acquisition and development, and recreational trail development and improvement statewide.


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