DEM announces funds to help protect open space

The DEM recently awarded $6.8 million in matching grants for 33 projects to reduce water pollution, flooding, and strengthen climate resilience.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) recently announced that $4 million in matching grants are available to help communities and local organizations protect open space throughout the state.

A Request for Proposals (RFP) is now open with a deadline of Oct. 27.

The funding is made possible by the 2016 Green Economy Bond, which was passed overwhelmingly by Rhode Island voters and invests $35 million in improving recreational facilities, cleaning up lands and waters, and preserving open space.

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 10,000 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.

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 full RFP available at

Electronic applications are encouraged and should be forwarded to Michelle Sheehan in the Division of Planning and Development at by 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27.

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.


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