2017 Mass Land Conservation Conference a Great Success!
2017 Mass Land Conservation Conference
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
Volunteer for the conference
Directions to Worcester Technical High School here
We are very grateful for the generosity of our sponsors!
Conservation Assistance for Small Communities Grant Round is Open
Conservation Assistance for Small Communities
This grant program provides funding to communities with a population of 6,000 people or fewer for the preparation of real property appraisals, Open Space & Recreation Plans (OSRPs), other planning in support of land conservation, and/or development of Open Space Residential Design (OSD)/Natural Resources Protection Zoning (NRPZ) bylaws. Funding is non-competitive; all eligible applicants will receive contracts on a rolling basis until all available funding is allocated. Participants must have an executed state contract before commencing work. To receive funding, the town must also submit a complete and eligible application to any of the following DCS grant programs in FY18 LAND, PARC, Drinking Water Supply Protection (DWSP), Landscape Partnership, Land & Water Conservation Fund, or commit to hold an interest in a property that is the subject of an FY18 application to the Conservation Partnership grant submitted by an eligible non-profit, except, towns may receive funding for preparation of an OSRP if they also develop OSD/NRPZ bylaws. Applications are currently being accepted through April 28th. Funding is available is on a first come, first served basis. Let me know if you have any questions on this email or with the grant application. You can access the FY 17/18 Small Communities application materials using this link http://www.mass.gov/eea/
FY17 Land and Water Conservation Grant Round
FY17 Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant round is open. LWCF grants can be used for acquisition of conservation or recreation land, the development of trails on conservation land, and the development or renovation of parks.
For more information and to apply, click here.
MA DFW Approves New Trails Policy
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
MLTC Member/Steering Committee Meetings for 2017
Next meeting: Friday, May 12, 2017, 10 am - 1 pm
PILOTs Powerpoint presentation here
Annual meeting voted trustees for 2017: MLTC Board 2017
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:
View Steering Committee meeting minutes:
Land Trust Regional Workshops
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.
November 14th Stewardship workshop was held in Lenox.
9. Sample BDR
For questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Land Trusts Sign Historic Cultural Respect Agreement
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
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!
Pipeline Action News
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
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/
More information is available here.
Water Flow Device Grants Available - Deceive the Beavers
Thanks to a grant from the Nion Robert Thieriot Foundation, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) is excited to again offer grants to fund installation of a limited number of water flow devices to address conflicts with beaver and prevent flooding related to beaver activity in communities throughout the Berkshires, Hampshire, Hampden, and Franklin County. Note: If you have a problem with beaver-related flooding in another part of the state, please contact us for more information: email@example.com
The MSPCA is looking for individuals, non-profit organizations, businesses, and communities that need help mitigating beaver-related flooding problems.
The application form is available online at www.mspca.org/BeaverFunding
Who can participate? Any individual, town, business, or organization in the Berkshires, or Franklin, Hampden, or Hampshire counties.
What are the criteria? A willingness (of all parties involved) to resolve problems non-lethally for the long term, a site that is conducive to flow device usage, and permission of the landowners and the local Conservation Commission to install water flow devices.
How do I request assistance? Send a description of your conflict site(s) and the limitations of your budget to the MSPCA for consideration. Starting in the spring, we will evaluate the sites to determine if they are conducive to flow device usage.
Funding assistance: The amount of funding offered to each applicant will depend on the number of requests, the amount of each viable request, and the ability of each requester to pay for part of the flow device, or the maintenance contract for the device, themselves.
Deadline: Requests will be accepted throughout 2016 until funding is exhausted.
Next Regional Workshop September 21st
Next Regional Workshop
FY17 LAND, PARC, and Conservation Partnership Grants
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT GRANTS
The Division of Conservation Services is seeking grant applications for its FY17 LAND, PARC, and Conservation Partnership Grant Programs to fund land protection and park development projects.
The DCS grant applications are available to download on the DCS website here.
LAND and PARC grant applications are due by 3:00 pm on July 13.
Agriculture Legislation on the Move
On May 5th, the Senate passed An Act promoting agriculture in the Commonwealth (SB2286) and several of the 30 provisions are of interest to land trusts, including changes to Chapter 61A which would allow noncontiguous parcels of a farm to be considered together; changes to the estate tax rules that would reduce estate tax rates on farms; provisions supporting community gardens on appropriate Department of Conservation and Recreation land; provisions supporting farmers markets; provisions allowing agricultural commissions to hold land and to prepare plans; a pollinator protection commission; and a Farmland Action Plan and Protection and Viability Advisory Commission. The bill now goes to the House. Many of the provisions in the legislation are also in the recently completed Massachusetts Food System Plan.
The Farmland Action Plan was also included in the House budget by amendment, and will be offered as an amendment to the upcoming Senate budget by Senator Anne Gobi. Why a Farmland Action Plan? Lack of reliable statewide data around farmland trends prevents the development and tracking of meaningful targets around farmland retention, protection and access. A formal state Farmland Action Plan would improve state data collection around farmland and establish formal farmland protection goals and benchmarks, providing a better roadmap for state investments in farmland protection in the future. The Plan will: (1) determine the resources needed to improve state data collection around farmland trends; (2) establish a statewide baseline of land in active agricultural production, or the process for doing so with improved data collection, and a system for tracking acres of farmland in production over time; (3) set measurable goals and benchmarks related to farmland protection, retention and access; and (4) recommend state program spending levels to meet those goals and benchmarks. The Plan would consider the regional land use plans that have been undertaken by various Regional Planning Agencies and Councils of Governments, and any available assessments, modelling or scenario planning that predicts future land use patterns, needs or threats.
The Trustees of Reservations, American Farmland Trust, the Massachusetts Farm Bureau have been working to further the Plan. For more information, contact The Trustees Director of Policy, Jen Ryan.
NED Pipeline Application Withdrawn Others Still Pending
On May 23, 2016, in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, J. Curtis Moffatt, deputy general counsel at the Kinder Morgan subsidiary Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, notified the agency that the Northeast Direct pipeline application was being withdrawn. Read more here.
MLTC is a founding member of Northeast Energy Solutions. More informaiton at www.neenergysolutions.org
A website offering resources and information about the pipeline has been created. That website, www.MassPLAN.org (Massachusetts PipeLine Awareness Network), is hosted by the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT)
Presentations on Process
Participating in the FERC Process presentation by Jocelyn D'Ambrosio View here
Letters in Opposition
Attorney General Maura Healey's Cover Letter to FERC on MA Pipeline Study here
A number of land trusts affected by the pipeline have issued statements and letters. See letters here.
Read Berkshire Natural Resources letter to Kinder Morgan here.
Read Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust comments here.
MA legislators issue joint statement on Northeast Energy Direct pipeline May 15, 2014. View here.
Read a letter to the New England governors on the pipeline here.
Read a letter to FERC from Northeast Energy Solutions here.
General Pipeline Information and Resources
Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline presentation here.
Northeast Energy Direct Pre-filing Application to FERC here. Search for Docket # PF14-22
MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs letter to FERC on the NED project here.
MACC advice to Conservation Commissions here.
Energy Price Fluctuations Information Sheet here.
Jobs Created in Massachusetts by Clean Energy Industry here.
Harvard Law Clinic Presentation on Protected Land, MA Laws and Eminent Domain here.