The Highlands Conservation Act (H.R.
1964, 2004; 16 U.S.C.
3901) (HCA) is designed to assist Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania in conserving land and natural resources in the Highlands Region through Federal assistance for land conservation projects in which a State entity
acquires land or an interest in land from a willing seller to permanently protect resources of high conservation value.
The USDA Forest Service (USFS) was directed by the HCA to identify lands that have high conservation value through the “New York-New Jersey Highlands Regional Study:
2002 Update” and the “Highlands Regional Study:
Connecticut and Pennsylvania 2010 Update.” Subject to availability of funds through Federal appropriation, each year, Governors of the four Highlands States may submit proposals for up to 50% of the total cost of land conservation projects in the Highlands Region.
Proposed projects must be consistent with areas identified in the Study and Update as having high resource value.
This program funds land conservation by State agencies in the Highlands Region.
Funding appropriated under the Highlands Conservation Act (HCA) has been divided into two separate categories – Base and Competitive.
Eligible applicants may submit requests for Base Funding in response to this Notice of Funding Opportunity.
A separate Notice of Funding Opportunity will be posted for Competitive Funds.
A property may not be proposed for funding from both the Base and Competitive funding opportunities.
HCA-funded acquisitions meet Department of the Interior priorities for Federal financial assistance by helping create a conservation stewardship “second only to Teddy Roosevelt”, restoring trust with local communities, and utilizing our natural resources.
State land acquisition increases public access to land for recreational opportunities, including hunting and fishing.
The program exemplifies the priority of utilizing our natural resources, such as forest resources and drinking water sources, by recognizing their importance and conserving their utility for current and future generations of Americans.
The program restores trust with our local communities through partnering with State agencies to fund State and local projects.