What types of projects are eligible for Bicentennial Nature Trust (BNT) Funding?
The purpose of the BNT is to acquire and/or protect significant conservation and recreation areas that will become part of the public trust for all Hoosiers to enjoy. Examples could include wetlands areas, forest tracts, river buffers, trails projects, and local parks. BNT funds cannot be used for capital improvements, rehabilitation, stewardship, or programming. All projects will be scored and ranked by several factors, with an emphasis on community support. Complete guidelines, including the scoring sheet, can be found here.
NOTE: A successful BNT project requires a willing seller.
The BNT will not
acquire property through eminent domain or condemnation.
What types of activities or projects are ineligible for BNT funding?
BNT funds are not intended to be used for stewardship, capital improvement projects, staff, construction of structures, removal or remediation of hazardous substances, or wastewater treatment.
What are the minimum guidelines that a project must meet?
There are minimum guidelines in place to encourage public/private partnerships and ensure the distribution of projects in every region of the State. They are:
- The BNT may contribute a maximum of $300,000 to a single project.
- A required 1:1 match. For every dollar requested from BNT there must be at least one dollar of non-BNT fund match within the project.
- Projects will need to obtain ½ of the maximum 53 points in the scoring sheet to minimally qualify for funding. Complete guidelines, including the scoring sheet, can be found here.
Could a bargain sale satisfy the match requirement?
Yes. A bargain sale below the assessed value of the property could fulfill all or part of the match requirement. Example: The desired property is appraised at $100,000. The landowner willingly agrees to sell the property for $60,000. The Community Foundation contributes a $10,000 match. The combined $40,000 bargain sale and $10,000 donation satisfy the match requirement, and the project is eligible for $50,000 of BNT funds.
Who may submit project proposals?
Anyone may submit an application for review. Examples may include: Community Foundations, Land Trusts, trails groups, non-profit organizations, individuals, and local units of government.
How is the BNT different from other land acquisition efforts?
The BNT was specifically designed to encourage public/private partnerships with an emphasis on funding projects that are considered a priority to the local community. Project proposals that demonstrate strong local support are awarded additional points on the proposal scoring sheet. We are actively seeking project proposals that are important to your community!
What is the review process for proposals?
A guiding principle is that all proposed BNT projects are subject to the same criteria and the same review process. Proposals should first be referred to the BNT Program Director for correctness of form, completeness and the opportunity to correct any deficiencies. Proposals are considered on a quarterly basis, and the submission deadlines are: February 1, May 1, August 1, and November 1.
- To ensure project proposals meet minimum requirements, proposals will be scored and ranked according to specific criteria by the DNR. Complete guidelines, including the scoring sheet, can be found here.
- A Project Committee composed of technical advisors reviews each project during a public meeting. Applicants are expected to give a brief presentation and answer any questions the committee may have.*
- Proposals are then referred to the Bicentennial Commission for final approval. Notification of acceptance or rejection of the proposed project by the Bicentennial Commission will be made by mail.
Once a project has received final approval, the real estate process can begin.
*No project will be placed on the Project Committee’s agenda for review until the application has been reviewed by the coordinator of BNT and DNR has scored the proposal to make sure the project meets the minimum criteria. The applicant will be informed if the project that they have outlined is ready for the Project Committee’s consideration. Readiness should include a determination of the property owner(s) willingness to sell or donate their property.
Where should I send my project proposal?
Complete project application forms and documentation must be delivered to the Bicentennial Nature Trust, 402 W. Washington St., Executive Office, Room W-256, Indianapolis, IN 46204-2748 or postmarked by the deadline date. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered for that proposal period but can be resubmitted for the next one.
Deadlines for submission of project proposals to the Project Committee are: February 1, May 1, August 1, and November 1.
Bicentennial Nature Trust Program Director