To Whom It May Concern:
Thank you for the opportunity to weigh in on the draft grant manual for this new program. We applaud the Northam Administration for entering into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and for deploying a portion of proceeds to help communities throughout the Commonwealth meet their flood preparedness needs.
We are supportive of the more expansive comments provided by Wetlands Watch and found particular resonance with comments provided by other non-profit organizations including Piedmont Environmental Council and Lynnhaven River NOW which like the Trust for Public Land, are working with local communities on nature-based solutions to address these issues. We highlight the following three recommendations:
-Allow the use of other grant sources to be used as match to greatly enhance the impact of the program, and follow other commonly accepted best practices for leveraging resources.
-We would de-emphasize the reliance on the ConserveVirginia Floodplain and Flooding Resilience data layer as it appears the accuracy is not at a sufficient level to tie it to scoring criteria.
-With an emphasis on acquisition in this grant program, we recommend the draft manual demonstrate more support for and recognition of the role land conservation organizations play in working with communities to protect open space for a variety of purposes. NGO's have expertise in land acquisition for conservation purposes and in leveraging other public and private funding sources, which could greatly increase the scale and impact of this program.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed grant manual.
Lynda Frost, Trust for Public Land