Highlands Conservation Program
To conserve priority lands and natural resources and recognize the importance of the water, forest, agricultural, wildlife, recreational, and cultural resources, and the national significance of the Highlands region of the United States. Preserve and protect high-priority conservation land in the Highland regions.
Last Known Status
Agency: Department of the Interior
Office: Fish and Wildlife Service
Types of Assistance
Project Grants (Discretionary)
Uses and Use Restrictions
A state or state agency with authority to own and manage land located within the Highlands region may use a land conservation partnership project to acquire conservation-valued land, either through fee acquisition or conservation easement, from a willing seller to permanently protect, conserve, or preserve land. Project lands of conservation value are identified by the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, with input from pertinent units of local government and the public. The list of lands of conservation value is provided to the governors of the states within the Highlands region. The list of projects to be funded is submitted to the Secretary of the Interior, who, along with the Secretary of Agriculture, submits the eligible project list to Congress. The Federal grant share of the land conservation partnership project will not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of partnership to acquire conservation-valued land.
H.R. 1964, 2004; 16 U.S.C. 3901.
Any state or state agency with authority to own and manage land located within the Highlands region for conservation purposes may apply by identifying the source of non-Federal funds, describing the management objectives for the project land, identifying the purpose of the use of the land, and providing that the land will not be converted, used or disposed of for a purpose inconsistent with land conservation.
Beneficiaries are states or state agencies with authority to own and manage land within the Highlands region for conservation purposes, including the Palisades Interstate Park Commission.
Must be a state or or state agency with the authority to own and manage land within the Highlands region for conservation purposes. OMB Circular No. A-87 applies to this program.
Application and Award Process
The U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, is responsible for conducting the resource assessment and preparing the Highlands project lands of conservation value update for the states involved. The U.S. Forest Service will identify in the update the lands that have high conservation value. Environmental impact information is not required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110. It is the responsibility of the Highland states to submit projects to the Department of the Interior for funding. The Highland states may do this individually or they may jointly submit land conservation partnership projects.
The U.S. Forest Service is responsible for doing the resource assessment and preparing the priority land update for the states involved. The U.S. Forest Service will identify in the update the lands that have high conservation value. Only lands available from willing sellers will be considered in the program. The Department of the Interior (DOI) has the sole responsibility for project grants. The states will apply directly to DOI for project funding. The DOI will award grants to the States or their entities for the acquisition of land, or interests in land, for conservation purposes in the Highlands.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program.
Matching Requirements: The Federal share of the project cost shall not exceed 50 percent of the total project cost.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance:
Varies. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Funds are disbursed to recipients as requested and in accordance with the payment methods prescribed in 43 CFR Part 12, or as otherwise prescribed in program-specific legislation.
Post Assistance Requirements
Program reports are not applicable. Cash reports are not applicable. Interim performance reports are required for each grant award annually within 30 days after the anniversary date. A final performance report is due within 90 days after the award end date. SF-425, Federal Financial Reports are required for each grant award annually within 30 days after the anniversary date. A final SF-425, Federal Financial Report is due within 90 days after the award end date. Recipients are responsible for monitoring and reporting performance each award and sub-award under this program in accordance with 43 CFR Part 12 and 2 CFR Part 170.
In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.
Cost records must be maintained separately for each grant award. Records, accounts, and supporting documents must be retained for three years after submission of the final reports.
Fiscal Year 2013: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2014: Four project area proposals (1 from each State) have been ranked by the Highlands Conservation Act Ranking Subcommittee in anticipation of funding for the Act. Any funding received in FY14 will be distributed among those 4 ranked and approved “project areas,” with 33.3% going to the top 2 ranked project areas and 16.7% going to the remaining 2 project areas. Fiscal Year 2015: No Current Data Available
(Project Grants (Discretionary)) FY 12 $4,026,667; FY 13 est $0; and FY 14 est $0 - FY13 and subsequent years grant approval pending budget loaded in FBMS CFDA should remain active through FY14.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Range : $646,600 to $1,940,000; Average $970,000.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Per http://www.doi.gov/parnlTermsandConditions.htrnl, acceptance of a Federal Financial award from the Department of the Interior carries with it the responsibility to be aware of and comply with the terms and conditions of the award. Acceptance is defined as starting work, drawing down funds, or accepting the award via electronic means. Awards are based on the application submitted to, and as approved by the Department of the Interior and are subject to the terms and conditions incorporated in to the Award either directly or by reference to the following: Program legislation/regulation, assurances, special conditions, the Code of Federal Regulations, and other regulatory requirements, as applicable.
Regional or Local Office
John Organ US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration, 300 Westgate Center Drive, , Hadley, Massachusetts 01035 Email: John_Organ@fws.gov
Phone: (413)253-8200 Fax: (413)253-8300
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2013: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2014: For FY14, the following project area proposals were ranked and determined eligible for funding: East Hudson Highlands, New York; Wallkill River and Pimple Hills, New Jersey; Cameron’s Line, Connecticut; Schulykill Highlands, Pennsylvania. If the Highlands Conservation Act receives funding in FY14, 33.3% of funding will go towards New York’s East Hudson Highlands project area, 33.3% will go towards New Jersey’s Wallkill River and Pimple Hills project area, and the remainder will be split equally between the approved project areas of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Grants will fund the acquisition of land or an interest in land by a State Agency or the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. Fiscal Year 2015: No Current Data Available
Criteria for Selecting Proposals
The U.S. Forest Service is responsible for completing the resource assessment and preparing the priority lands update for the states involved. The U.S. Forest Service will identify in the update the lands that have high conservation value. The Highland states meet annually and apply directly to DOI for funding from the project list of lands provided by U.S. Forest Service. Only lands with high conservation value that can be obtained by fee acquisition or conservation easement from willing sellers will be considered.