Conservation Easements Application Procedures

Applicants must comply with all components of the application procedures in order to be eligible for funding. Applicants are strongly encouraged to schedule a pre-application meeting with the Common Waters Fund Program Coordinator to discuss the scope and intent of the proposed project.

Funding recommendations will be made by the Common Waters Fund Project Selection Committee on a rolling basis once applications are completed. Typically, applicants will be notified if their application has been accepted for funding within two (2) months of submission.

1. Application Submission
Applications for funding should be made only after a landowner has committed to placing a Conservation Easement on their property. There should also be clear evidence that funding is required to move forward with the easement process. For applications seeking funding for purchased easements, documentation of matching funds and the need for funding from this grant program is required as a part of the application.

Applications can be mailed to Common Waters Fund, P.O. Box 1029, Milford, PA 18337. The application package contains the following:

  1. Grant Application Form
  2. Location Map, showing the property and significant natural features
  3. Title Report
  4. Draft Deed of Conservation Easement
  5. Description of the property based on the Easement Criteria described above (1 page max)

2. Review By Project Selection Committee

The Common Waters Fund Project Selection Committee will review all applications for completeness and make a recommendation of grant approval or denial to the Common Waters Fund Program Coordinator. Incomplete application packages will be rejected. Additional documentation may be requested by the Project Selection Committee prior to grant recommendation. The Project Selection Committee may also ask to meet with the applicant or to conduct a site visit prior to making a decision. Applicants should be notified by the Common Waters Fund Program Coordinator of acceptance or rejection of their application within two months of submission.

3. Grant Award And Contract

The Common Waters Fund Program Coordinator will notify applicants when a decision on applications has been made. For unsuccessful applications, the Program Coordinator will inform the applicant of the reasons for rejection. Applicants may apply again for funding if a project is modified from the original application.

For successful applicants, the Common Waters Fund Program Coordinator will forward two copies of the Grant Agreement to the applicant for signature. Both copies must be signed, dated, and returned to the Pinchot Institute for Conservation for signature by the President of the Institute. The applicant will receive one copy of the fully executed agreement for their records.

4. Review Of Conservation Easement

The applicant must present the final Deed of Conservation Easement to the Common Waters Fund Program Coordinator prior to execution and recordation. Along with the final Deed of Conservation Easement, the applicant must submit a statement of any changes made to the easement language from the draft easement submitted with the original grant application. The Common Waters Fund Program Coordinator will review the final Deed of Conservation Easement with the applicant to ensure it is consistent with the original grant application and the goals of the program.

5. Post-Settlement Reporting Requirements

The applicant will provide a copy of the recorded Deed of Conservation Easement with Deed Book and Page Numbers affixed. The applicant must also submit a final report providing the following:

  • A narrative description of how the funding was used
  • An explanation of any changes in funding allocations from the original grant application
  • Any lessons learned from the process of carrying out the work associated with this grant that may help the Common Waters Fund improve its grants process in the future
  • A detailed accounting of expenses. Financial reporting must provide total expenditures by category, using the same categories found on the grant application. Financial reporting also must provide budget versus actual expenses and explanation of any differences between budgeted and actual expenses.