General Information for all Applicants
Who can apply?
Eligible applicants are nonprofit housing and conservation organizations with federal 501(c)(3) status, Vermont municipalities, and certain state agencies. Individuals who wish to conserve their land should work with a land trust to apply for VHCB funds.
All applicants are required to show long-term benefit to Vermonters through deed restrictions or other mechanisms that ensure the funds provided will have a lasting effect. Program beneficiaries range from farmers and forestland owners, to all who enjoy Vermont's natural, recreational and historic properties.
Eligible applicants are asked to call VHCB staff to discuss your project prior to completing an application.
Applications are usually reviewed and decisions made within eight to ten weeks of submission (although Farmland Conservation applications go through a 2-step application process that can take 12-18 months). VHCB conservation staff will review the application, visit the subject property, and compile a project summary for the Board. The Board makes final funding decisions at regular board meetings.The applicant is encouraged to attend the meeting at which the project is reviewed, and is informed of the Board's decision that same day. Funding may not be available until up to three months following the Board meeting.
Applying to Conserve State-Significant Farmland
The Board evaluates farmland applications in a two-step process. Pre-applications are submitted by an eligible entity (typically a land trust), and reviewed by a committee comprised of staff from VHCB, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, and land trust partners. If the project meets VHCB’s eligibility criteria, it is approved for VHCB cost-share of an appraisal to determine the value of the conservation easement. Applications for funding are developed for those projects that have been approved as pre-applications, and submitted for consideration at one of the Board’s regularly scheduled meetings. Board evaluation is based upon soil quality, location, farm infrastructure, management, and other resources brought to the project. There is a funding cap of $550,000 per application and $4,200 per acre.
Apply for Funding
Applying to Conserve State Significant natural areas, recreational lands, and historic properties
Natural Areas, Recreational Lands, Historic Properties
Conservation projects of statewide significance are eligible for VHCB Conservation Project funding. These include natural areas that provide habitat for rare or endangered species, acquisition of lands to provide public access to trails or water, greenways, or acquisition of important historic properties for public use.
- VHCB Policy on Funding of Natural Areas
- VHCB Policy on Funding of Recreational Lands
- VHCB Policy on Funding of Historic Preservation Projects
Apply for Funding
- Application for Conservation of Natural Areas, Recreational Lands, Historic Properties
- VHCB Conservation Application Budget (Excel file)
Applying to Conserve Locally-significant Lands
The Local Conservation Grant Program provides grants for the conservation of agricultural and recreational land, town parks and forests, swimming holes, greenways, and historic buildings for public use that may not be competitive with applications for statewide conservation projects but are of great significance to a particular community. Under this program, grants of up to $150,000 plus associated costs are available for the purchase of recreational lands and natural areas, and grants of up to $215,000 are available to conserve locally important farmland. Applications to conserve and restore historic properties will generally not be recommended for more than $100,000 plus associated costs, unless other factors apply. Local Conservation funding may be used for acquisition costs and for associated projects costs such as appraisals, options, or closing costs. Applicants are required to provide one-third of total project costs from other sources, and must demonstrate municipal support from the town where the project is located.
Other funding support for conservation organizations
The Board provides feasibility awards to assist with pre-development costs and feasibility analysis for individual projects. This program pays for appraisals, engineering and environmental studies and options, for instance. Conservation applicants may request up to $10,000 as a grant for a single project to cover feasibility related expenses. Funds can only be used to compensate contracted services and may not be used to compensate applicants for staff time. These awards are instrumental in helping grantees bring projects to the development stage. Applications for feasibility funding are reviewed as they are received and are not subject to application deadlines. Please contact the Conservation Director to request an application.
Project-specific Capacity Funding
Project-related capacity funds of up to $50,000 are awarded for pre-development expenses in excess of the amount available from VHCB’s Feasibility Fund and are limited to projects that have a higher than normal level of complexity or uncertainty. Examples include: site challenges, the presence of multiple sites or multiple goals, unusual ownership structure or special population to be served, community economics or demographics that make development of a project especially challenging. Project-related capacity funding can cover costs of appraisals, engineering work, title search, historic preservation or hazardous materials analyses.
On a case-by-case basis the Board may also allow these funds to be used to cover staff costs of the applicant organization, especially if the organization would not have the ability to undertake the project if such expenses were not covered. Funds may be used to promote public dialogue about affordable housing or land conservation and/or to examine alternative land use scenarios through such means as site inventories and site plans as well as design charettes. At its discretion, the Board may also choose to make awards to cover expenses that are not outlined above.
Organizational Development Grants
The Board provides annual grants to non-profit organizations for some of the costs associated with developing affordable housing and conservation projects. Regional groups actively involved in developing VHCB projects may apply for up to $33,750 and new organizations may apply for up to $12,000. Please contact the Conservation Director to request an application.