What's New


MLTC Member/Steering Committee Meeting Nov 17th
August 20, 2017

Next meeting: Friday, November 17, 2017, 10 am - 1 pm

Location: Community Barn, Grafton, MA
Agenda coming soon

Massachusetts Land Trusts, Coalition Members and Friends, All Massachusetts Land Trusts, MLTC Member organizations and Friends are encouraged to send a representative and participate in the Mass. Land Trust Coalition Steering Committee Meetings. All state and Federal agency personnel active in Massachusetts land protection are cordially invited, as well.

2017 Steering Committee meeting dates:
   
Friday, February 24, 2017
     Friday, May 12, 2017
     Friday, September 15, 2017
     Friday, November 17, 2017

View Steering Committee meeting minutes:

  Sept 15, 2017 Minutes                  Sept legislative update here
                                                              Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership handout here
                                                              Letter to Committee Chairs on PILOT legislation here

                                               Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program – Guidance for Land Trusts here
                                               LTA Farm Bill Recommendations here
  May 12, 2017 Minutes                   May legislative update here

                                               UMass Land Protection Certificat proposal here
                                               Nature Can Rescue Our Climate presentation here
   Feb 24, 2017 Minutes                    PILOTS Powerpoint presentation here
              Guidance on IRS disallowing deduction for CRs with Amendment Clauses here
   Nov 18, 2016 Minutes           November legislative update here
   Sept 16, 2016 Minutes          September legislative update here
   May 13, 2016 Minutes
   Feb 26, 2016 Minutes                                            
February legislative update  here
   Nov 20, 2015 Minutes
   Sept 17, 2015 Minutes
   May 15, 2015 Minutes           
Handouts:  Economic Benefits    Superhero in our Midst
   February 27, 2015 Minutes                     
   November 21, 2014 Minutes           

   September 12, 2014 Minutes
   May 16, 2014 Minutes
   Feb 16, 2014 Minutes

 

Payment in Lieu of Taxes Legislation Proposed - Your Input Needed
August 18, 2017

Recently legislation has been proposed that would allow for the taxation of nonprofit owned land, or codify the process to require payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT).

MLTC joined Mass Audubon, The Trustees, and The Nature Conservancy in testifying against this proposed legislation. Read testimony here.

 

Your input is vital to help fight PILOT legislation. MLTC will organize a united defense against these proposed laws by gathering your responses and creating a more explicit picture of the benefits our land trust members provide.  

 

If you haven’t already done so, please help by taking the 8-minute survey here

MA requests SCORP input for LWCF grant program
August 17, 2017

SCORP surveys:  The National Park Service requires the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to complete a Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan every five years to remain eligible for funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant program.  Since the program was established in 1965, nearly $100,000,000 has been awarded to every county in the state for the acquisition of conservation or park land, development of new parks, or renovation of existing parks.

Three surveys are available – one for land trusts here, one for municipal employees here, and one for any and all users of open space in Massachusetts here.  It should take about 15 minutes to complete each survey.  It is critical for us to hear back from as many people as possible regarding conservation and recreation use and demand at your properties to guide how future LWCF funding could be spent most effectively in Massachusetts.

Any questions should be directed to Melissa Cryan, LWCF Stateside Coordinator, at 617-626-1171 or melissa.cryan@state.ma.us.

Land Trust Regional Workshops
August 17, 2017

MLTC HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR LAND TRUSTS

In our recent survey, Mass Land Trust Coalition (MLTC) member land trusts listed the top challenges facing their organizations. We heard you! Workshop events are co-sponsored by MLTC and the Land Trust Alliance.

February 4, 2017 Southeastern Massachusetts Land Trust Convocation Plenary Speech by Jack Clarke, Mass Audubon, available here.
February 4, 2017 workshop, "Cracking the Communication Nut" w
orkshop handout here.

September 21, 2017 Stewardship workshop is co-hosted by Greenbelt.
Workshop Presentations:

Fundamentals of CR Stewardship
 

Workshop materials:

  1.  Monitoring Program Annual Planning Calendar

  2.  Sample Monitoring Practices

  3.  Sample Field Guide to Monitoring Conserved Lands

  4.  Sample Volunteer Steward Training Agenda

  5.  Sample Letter to Stewards

  6.  Sample Post Monitoring Landowner Letter

  7.  Sample Annual Monitoring Report Form

  8.  Sample BDR Outline

  9.  Sample BDR

  10. Obtaining Signatures for Older BDR’s

  11. Sample BDR Policy

  12. Easement Revitalization: A Problem Solving Guidebook for Land Trusts

 

For questions, contact info@massland.org.

 

August is Tree Check Month
August 17, 2017

Did you know that this August has been officially recognized by the US Department of Agriculture as Tree Check Month? Insects like Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer currently threaten hardwood forests in Massachusetts, and Tree Check Month is the perfect time to check your trees for signs of damage. Take ten minutes of your time to find out how to spot signs of damage from these insects and to check your trees to ensure their health and survival!

More at the Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Blog here.

MA FY2018 Budget Final
July 17, 2017

The Massachusetts Fiscal Year 2018 budget was signed by Governor Baker in July.

Unfortunately, the overall budget provides less funding for environmental agencies than the previous year, with funding at about half a penny on the dollar for critical programs. Governor Baker’s review of the budget decreased overall funding for the environment even further than the legislature had authorized.
Read a summary of what's included in the budget here.

Take Action for Our Public Lands by July 10th
June 19, 2017

Please comment to the Department of the Interior by July 10th.
Comment here.

The Trump administration recently ordered a review of national monuments, mounting an attack on the iconic public lands and waters that are critical to our nation’s economy and way of life. Sixteen presidents from both sides of the aisle have designated national monuments to protect places like the Grand Canyon and Bears Ears. The executive order puts the fate of these parks and monuments in the hands of the Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke.

Trump has made it clear that he wants to scale back or eliminate national monuments, taking land out of public hands to give to private corporations like fossil fuel companies.

This action will impact our monuments in our region: Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine Monument, off the coast of Cape Cod, and Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine.

With your help, we can demonstrate the overwhelming public support for national monuments and resist the administration’s attack on our lands.

Please take action with us to protect our public lands!

Read a fact sheet produced by the Environmental League here.

Read a new analasys from the Center for American Progress that describes the scientific and ecological value of each of the 22 land-based monuments under review. Analysis and interactive here.
Sample tweets and press release here.

Read a letter from The Trustees to Secretary Zinke here

DCS Grant Round for FY 2018 is Open
February 14, 2017

DCS Grant Round for FY 2018 is Open
Application deadline is July 12, 2017 at 3 pm

 

Grants are available for LAND  (Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity), PARC (Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities) and Conservation Partnership Programs.  Find information on all DCS grants at: www.mass.gov/eea/grants-and-tech-assistance/grants-and-loans/dcs/grant-programs/

 

RSVP for a grant workshop to melissa.cryan@state.ma.us

May 17, 2017 at 11:00 am in Amherst
May 18, 2017 at 11:00 am in Boston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Mass Land Conservation Conference a Great Success!
February 12, 2017

2017 Mass Land Conservation Conference
Scaling Up: Meeting New Challenges
Convened by the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition 
Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 8am – 4pm
Worcester Technical High School
One Skyline Drive, Worcester, MA

The conference was a great success with over 570 attendees! Our thanks to all who attended, and all who made it possible by presenting workshops, volunteering, sponsoring, and exhibiting.

A Conversation with E. O. Wilson - View the plenary here
MLTC is pleased to announce that Edward Osborne Wilson, usually cited as E. O. Wilson, an American biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist and author will be the Plenary speaker at our 2017 Mass Land Conservation Conference, scheduled for Saturday, March 25 at the Worcester Technical High School, Worcester, MA. Learn more about E. O. Wilson here

Subscribe to Conference Updates!

Conference Information:

Download:

        Brochure

PDF

        Workshop Schedule PDF
        Workshop Descriptions PDF
        Speaker Biographies PDF
        Conference Day Program PDF
        Workshop Materials Link
         Exhibitor List PDF
        Map of Worcester Tech High School PDF
        Raffle Prize Descriptions PDF

 

Sponsor the 2017 conference
Sponsor benefits are listed here. If you are interested in sponsoring this year's event, download the form here.

Exhibit at the conference
Details on exhibiting at the conference are here. If you are interested in exhibiting, complete this form. The 2016 exhibitors are found here.

Volunteer for the conference
We depend on the assistance of volunteers to make this conference a success! To volunteer for pre-conference, conference day, or post-conference activities, fill out the form here. Thank you!

Directions to Worcester Technical High School here

MA DFW Approves New Trails Policy
February 5, 2017

Dear MLTC Members,

We are writing to you to inform you of a new trails policy approved by the MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife).  In response to increasing and unauthorized trail development and maintenance on their properties by various organizations and individuals, MassWillife has determined that only organizations they license may construct or maintain trails on their properties.  MassWildlife has established procedures for trail groups who wish to obtain a License Agreement for trail development or maintenance on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and Access Areas.

The Walking Trails Policy arises directly from MassWildlife’s statutory obligation to protect habitat and provide access for wildlife-related recreation. In essence, it provides that only licensed trails shall be maintained on property owned by MassWildlife.

MassWildlife recognizes that, in certain situations, passage across their lands is desired to maintain the connectivity of existing major walking trails. In such cases, MassWildlife may license an outside group to mark, improve, and maintain a segment of an existing major walking trail crossing one of their WMAs or Access Areas, subject to the conditions underlined in the policy here. They are requesting that other trails cease to be actively maintained. The opportunity for public access is unaffected.

Conservation science has shown that trails often alter and fragment wildlife habitat and adversely affect the behavior of wildlife, including both terrestrial and aquatic species. MassWildlife Director Jack Buckley has stated that MassWildlife’s Walking Trails Policy is designed to address these issues, in keeping with its statutory mission of managing wildlife lands for wildlife and simultaneously accommodating public recreational access.

Outdoor recreational access to WMAs has not changed as a result of the Walking Trails Policy.  MassWildlife lands continue to be open to wildlife-related recreation (hunting, fishing, trapping, nature observation, and photography) and other outdoor activities such as hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. 

We understand that this could affect your land trust. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns. 

  

Mass Land Trust Coalition
info@massland.org
978-443-2233

Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program
January 1, 2017

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has launched a new program, the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Grant ProgramThis is a great partnering opportunity for local watershed associations, land trusts, conservation commissions, and climate groupsIt offers municipalities expert consulting and funding to conduct a vulnerability assessment of their communities and prepare an adaptation plan for climate resilience. Through this program, municipalities will be better equipped to plan and prepare for climate change, and state government will gain a better understanding of the challenges communities face. State-certified MVP providers will deliver the program using a standardized toolkit for assessing vulnerability and developing strategies, and the best available statewide climate projections and data. Upon successful completion of the program, municipalities will be designated as a "Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program community," which may lead to increased standing in future funding opportunities. The application deadline is May 22, but applying is easy.
 

EEA is also encouraging regionalization among municipalities and your organizations are well-positioned to help craft a joint proposal from multiple communities.

Here's a sample email you could use with your municipal officials:

I am writing to encourage town X to apply for the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program (Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs). MVP will provide direct funding and support to cities and towns to complete a community-driven process that will bring together climate change information and local knowledge to identify top hazards, current challenges, and strengths and then to develop priority actions to improve the municipality's resilience to all natural and climate-related hazards using a flexible, tested approach called Community Resilience Building. The program will provide access to a pool of state-certified MVP providers, a standardized toolkit for assessing vulnerability and developing strategies, and the best available statewide climate projections and data. Our local organization is ready to offer support and capacity to help our community with the application and the planning process.

The application deadline is May 22.

Take advantage of this great opportunity!

Land Trusts Sign Historic Cultural Respect Agreement
December 1, 2016

On December 19, 2016, the Native Land Conservancy (NLC) signed the first of what we hope will be many Cultural Respect Agreements with another conservation land trust, the Dennis Conservation Trust (DCT),  and other public and private land owners.  As negotiated, the agreement will provide NLC with formal access to sacred sites and other culturally-significant properties for educational and ceremonial purposes.  This is the first such agreement of its kind on land east of the Mississippi.

News article here

Copy of Agreement here

Another Chance to Help Shape Land Trust Standards & Practices
August 20, 2016

ACTION REQUEST  

Dear Members

Help us help you. We are asking the Massachusetts land trust community to play an important role in shaping the revised Standards and Practices by commenting on the recent draft available here. For more information or to download the Standards and Practices Discussion Draft from the Land Trust Alliance site, click here.

The Land Trust Alliance's Standard and Practices are not a part of the accreditation process. Tthey are important guiding principles for land trusts to follow to ensure best practices. MLTC believes that all land trusts should adopt Standards and Practices as a matter of course. They are self-administered and adhered to by the land trust's governing body. 

How can you help?

The initial community participation phase was March 1 through September 15. Based on your feedback, LTA has created a new discussion draft. The second, targeted comment period will run from mid-October through December. You are invited to comment on the Discussion Draft. You can provide feedback online at: http://www.landtrustalliance.org/topics/land-trust-standards-and-practic... or by email to SandP@lta.org

Everyone's input is valued - that means you! 

Regards,
Marylynn Gentry
Executive Director
 Mass Land Trust Coalition
18 Wolbach Road
Sudbury, MA 01776
mgenmtry@massland.org
(978) 443-2233

Pipeline Action News
August 16, 2016

The Pipeline Awareness Network for the Northeast (PLAN) is reaching out to allied organizations across the state asking them for financial help to prevent Kinder Morgan from going forward with its planned pipeline through Otis State Forest in the southern Berkshires.   If the pipeline were to proceed it would possibly set a precedent that would threaten all Article 97 protected lands.

 

Last March, Kinder Morgan received a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the Connecticut Expansion Project, which would cut through about two miles of Otis State Forest for the purpose of providing natural gas to Connecticut utilities. The company immediately sought to take, by eminent domain, this Article 97 land. The land remains protected in accordance with the state constitution because the legislature has not voted to change its protected status. The Berkshire Superior Court has affirmed Kinder Morgan's eminent domain authority, and the Attorney General's office has not committed to appealing the court's decision.

 

If Kinder Morgan gets a foothold in Article 97 land through federal preemption, this will set the stage for current and future interstate pipeline projects in the Commonwealth.

 

Read more and get instructions on helping to fund opposition here.

Read New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Resolution on Ecological Connectivity, Adaptation to Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation here.

Survey on New England Conservation Policy Needs
June 13, 2016

The New England Forest Policy Group would like to hear from MLTC members on conservation policy needs that might be addressed with a regional approach. Please take the survey and let them know what you think.

Survey is at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NEFPG-SurveyHZ

More information is available here.