Three Ravens Ranch

Finding US stimulus dollars for your private property conservation project

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By partnering with Federal Agencies, state and local governments and nonprofit organizations involved in larger scale conservation projects, individual property owners can greatly increase Stimulus opportunity.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), The Stimulus Bill, injects an unprecedented flood of funding into U.S. Government programs and initiatives. But, is there really any chance for individual property owners to get stimulus dollars for conservation? 

The Obama Administration markets the legislation as necessary to save or create millions of jobs and address failing public infrastructure. The massive spending bill not only provides funds for social welfare and sweeping reform in health care but also money to restore failing bridges and dams, design a 'smarter' electricity transmission grid, expand broadband technology, promote energy conservation, and provides opportunities to develop alternative energy and renewable resources.

Federal agencies began reporting on their use of funds on March 3, 2009. Many of these agencies have outlined general funding initiatives for their programs and some have already posted applications for contracts and grants for projects. As 'shovel ready' projects are a priority mandated by the legislation much of the additional funding provided by ARRA will go to pre-approved projects or administrative costs within existing government programs.

At first glance, it looks like most of the stimulus dollars will be locked up in big government projects. Big federal, state and municipal projects do help conserve and protect our natural resources but non-publicly owned properties, or private lands, make up over 70% of U.S. land and natural resources. Conservation activities on private lands contribute greatly to the overall health and vitality of our ecosystems and property owners are still in need of financial aid and technical help to get the 'little' projects done on private lands.

It still may be possible for the cash strapped property owner to get some of this big government stimulus for conservation on private properties. To find opportunities, let's look at how the initial, or first phase, of the stimulus is being used by the Federal Government Agencies to provide funding to states, local governments, private entities and nonprofit organizations.

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