What's New

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


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! 

Marylynn Gentry
Executive Director
 Mass Land Trust Coalition
18 Wolbach Road
Sudbury, MA 01776
(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.

Water Flow Device Grants Available - Deceive the Beavers
June 6, 2016

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: advocacy@mspca.org

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.
Requests will be considered in the order in which they are received.  Submit ASAP, please.

Send requests to:  MSPCA, Advocacy Dept, 350 S. Huntington Ave, Boston, MA, 02130
advocacy@mspca.org  or 617-541-51

Next Regional Workshop September 21st
May 4, 2016

Next Regional Workshop

Wednesday, September 21, 2016   5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Worcester area
Details to be announced

Who Should Attend?
Land trusts, watershed groups, environmental organizations and municipal board members.

For questions, please contact:
Marylynn Gentry, Mass Land Trust Coalition  978-443-2233 or mgentry@massland.org






FY17 LAND, PARC, and Conservation Partnership Grants
April 3, 2016


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.
Conservation Partnership grant applications are due by 3:00 pm on July 18


Agriculture Legislation on the Move
April 1, 2016

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
March 30, 2016

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.
A number of land trusts and private landowners have been approached by representatives of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C. (“TGP”, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners) for permission to survey their land for the TGP Northeast Energy Direct project (NED)—a high-pressure natural gas pipeline planned to run from New York state through northern Massachusetts from Richmond to Dracut. There is great concern in the community that this pipeline is planned to traverse a number of environmentally sensitive areas including publicly and privately owned conservation land. The MLTC board has voted to “strongly oppose the use of any conservation land including conservation properties owned and/or managed by land trusts, municipalities, state and federal government entities for locating natural gas pipelines or infrastructure related thereto.” MLTL has drafted and sent a letter stating this position to Governor Patrick and Secretary Sullivan. The letter can be viewed 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)

Conservation Land Impacted by Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline June 2015

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.


MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program
June 28, 2015

Grant Information Session:

When: Nov 3, 2015  |   7 pm
Where: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Field Headquarters
1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA

The MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program (MHMGP) is designed to provide financial assistance to private and municipal landowners of protected lands to support active habitat management while fostering partnerships to encourage landscape scale habitat management and expand public recreation on conserved lands.

  For more details click here.

Land Trust - Agency Retreat Successful - view materials
March 5, 2015

Save the Date!

The 13th Annual Land Trust - State Agency Retreat
Harvard Forest, Petersham, MA
Thursday, April 30, 9am - 5pm (dinner to follow)
Friday, May 1, 8:30am - noon

Our thanks to all who attended the 13th Annual Land Trust - State Agency Retreat at Harvard Forest in Petersham. We had a great turnout, and engaged in some lively and important discussions. 

Many thanks to those who gave presentations at this year's retreat. To see the list of presentations, the agenda is available here

Many presentations are available online:

  Next Phase of Land Conservation:
      -Connecting habitat into network for changing climate (Andy Finton, The Nature Conservancy)
      -Neighborhood park systems in Gateway Cities (Brad Buscher, Groundwork Lawrence)
      -Connecting open space for outdoor recreation legacy (Gary Briere, River's Edge Cycling)
      -Vision of farm conservation future (Cris Coffin, American Farmland Trust)

  Restoration and Conservation Working Together
      -Farm and cranberry bog restoration (Bob Wilber, Mass Audubon)
      -Cape Cod "undevelopment" (Mark Robinson, The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts)
      -Montague "undevelopment" (Rich Hubbard, Franklin Land Trust)
      -Flow restoration projects (Tim Purington, Div of Environmental Restoration)

  Stewardship Innovations at TTOR (Tom O'Shea, The Trustees of Reservations)

2015 Mass Land Conservation Conference Materials
February 27, 2015

Plenary Speakers

    Congressman James P. McGovern
    MA Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton

   All Speakers Biographies

# Workshop Download Materials

Young Guns Discuss the Future of Land Conservation in Massachusetts

- Mark Robinson, The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts;

  Jessica Whritenour, Falmouth Land Trust; Mike Leavitt,

  Berkshire Natural Resources Council; Sara Wells,

  Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust


Farmland Access & Transfer: Opportunities for Land Trusts

- Kathryn Ruhf, Land for Good; Darci Shofield, Trust for Public Land


Managing Habitat Restoration & Visitor Impacts at Weir Hill
- Russell Hopping, The Trustees of Reservations;

  Joel Carlson, Northeast Forest & Fire Management;

  Kate Sullivan, Northeast Forest & Fire Management

1D Future Forests: Climate Change & Forest Restoration
- Colin Novick, Greater Worcester Land Trust;
  Julie Richburg, The Trustees of Reservations

Land Conservation 101: Where Do I Start?

- Charlie Wyman, Mass Audubon;
  Jennifer Ohop, Opacum Land Trust


Troubleshooting Land Negotiations

- Bob Wilber, Mass Audubon;

  Rob Warren, The Trustees of Reservations


Amending CRs
- Jonathan Bockian, Law Office of Jonathan Bockian;

  David Santomenna, The Trustees of Reservations





CRs not Approved by EEA- Perpetual & Enforceable?
- Deborah A. Eliason, Attorney; Irene DelBono, MA EEA




Pipeline Strategies & Article 97 Lands

- Leigh Youngblood, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust;

  Arthur Bergeron, Mirick O'Connell; David J. Singer, Attorney


Grants From Both Sides Now: Grant Makers & Grant Seekers Discuss

- Ellen Gugel, Grants & More; 

  Pamela B. Kane, Greater Worcester Community Foundation; 

  Katie White, Conservation Law Foundation;

  Bill Hinckley, MA Environmental Trust




Xs, Ys, Boomers & Traditionalists: Engaging Four Generations of Volunteers

- Illene Roggensack, Third Sector Innovations




Exploring Health Benefits of Greening Urban Landscapes

- Katy Walker, Health Effects Institute;

  Peter James, Harvard School of Public Health;

  Wig Zamore, Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership




Techniques for Engaging Urban Youth in Conservation & the Outdoors
- Samantha Lyon, Thompson Island Outward Bound; TBA


Rebuild Local Food System & Conserve our Communities

- Jamie Pottern, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust;

  Cynthia Henshaw, East Quabbin Land Trust; 

  Cathy Wirth, The Trustees of Reservations




Making Resiliency Relevant: Climate-Savvy Strategic Planning
- Sarah Wells, North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership;

  Chris Merritt, Sasaki Associates; Maggie Owens,

  MassLIFT AmeriCorps


New Visions for Integration of Forest Management & Land Protection

- Robert Perschel, New England Forestry Foundation; Kathy Fallon

  Lambert, Harvard Forest; Lisa Vernegaard, Sudbury Valley Trustees


Land Management, Stewardship & Outreach Using Web Mapping Technologies

- Jason Stanton, Montachusett Regional Planning Commission; 

  Angela Sirois-Pitel, The Nature Conservancy




Plan for Resilience: Prioritization & Conservation Tools
- Andy Finton, The Nature Conservancy; Valerie Massard, Mass Audubon;

  Christa Collins, Sudbury Valley Trustees;

  Dan Stimson, Sudbury Valley Trustees




EEA Partnerships & Funding Opportunities

- Melissa Cryan, MA EEA; Celia Riechel, MA EEA




Mock Trial of a CR Violation

- Elizabeth Wroblicka, Esq; William Constable, Lincoln Land Trust;

  Ray Lyons, Attorney; Rob Warren, The Trustees of Reservations;

  Sally Loomis, Hilltown Land Trust


The Nitty Gritty of CRs, Step by Step

- Irene DelBono, MA EEA


Got Land? Creative Ways to Promote Properties & Engage Supporters

- Ryan Mann, Westport Land Trust; Mary Williamson, Essex County  


2K Conservation Leadership: A Small Group of Committed Citizens CAN Change the World
- Kathy Sferra, Stow Conservation

Escaping the Four Walls: Urban Hiking & the East Side Trail- Outdoor Hike
- Colin Novick, Greater Worcester Land Trust; Gene Tivnan, Beals &



Park Equity & the Role of Urban Greenways

- Brad Buschur, Groundwork Lawrence; Nina Brown, Brown,

  Richardson & Rowe


Personal Stories: How & Why We Do Conservation

- Leslie Luchonok, Environmental/ Community Consultant


Field Management: A Look at Managing Fields for Wildlife Habitat
- Laura Mattei, Sudbury Valley Trustees; Russ Hopping, The

  Trustees of Reservations; Amanda Weise, New England Wild

  Flower Society


Using Ecological Integrity & Conductance to Prioritize Land for Conservation

- Scott Jackson, UMASS Amherst


Understanding the Ch. 61 Programs & Their Role in Conservation
- Paul Catanzaro, UMASS Amherst; Jennifer Fish, MA EEA, 

  Department of Conservation & Recreation


Today's Topics in Conservation Law

- Moderator: Buzz Constable, Lincoln Land Conservation Trust

  Panelists: Irene DelBono, MA EEA; Kathy Orlando, Attorney; 

  Jonathan Bockian, Law Office of Jonathan Bockian; Brian Beaton,

  Bowditch & Dewey


2015 Property Tax Exemption Primer

- Ray Lyons, Attorney; Nikki McKoon, Mass Audubon




Analyzing your Fundraising Special Events: Cash Cow or Sinkhole?

- Illene Roggensack, Third Sector Innovations


88 Ways to Make Your Land Trust Stronger

- Kevin Case, Land Trust Alliance; Jen Ohop, Opacum Land Trust


Planting Trees to Save Energy, Reduce Stormwater & Improve Neighborhoods

- Mat Cahill, MA EEA; Celia Riechel, MA EEA, Bob O'Connor, MA EEA


Land Legacy & Key Sites Public Land Management and Stewardship

- Jonathan Regosin, MA Division of Fisheries & Wildlife; 

  Craig MacDonnell, MassWildlife



Maine Supreme Court Affirms Property Tax Exemption for Land Trust
August 7, 2014

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that land conservation is a charitable purpose under the Maine Property Tax Exemption statute.  The ruling settles a dispute between the Town of Limington and Francis Small Heritage Trust (FSHT) regarding the property tax exempt eligibility of FSHT's preserves.

This ruling adds to the body of precedent set by the Massachusetts Supreme Court's decision in the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) v Town of Hawley case.

Read Maine decision here.

Deadline for Submitting CRs for Tax Purposes Oct 15th
Irene DelBono
August 1, 2014


Hello Everyone,

Once again it’s that time of year when I need to set a deadline for submission of CRs for income tax purposes so that I can manage the volume and ensure that everyone gets their CRs back in time. The deadline is October 15th. Read guidelines and tips.


Evironmental Bond Bill Signed by Governor Patrick
July 28, 2014

$2.2 Billion Environmental Bond Signed

Gov. Deval Patrick signed a $2.2 billion environmental bond bill Wednesday that supporters said is an investment for future generations. The four-year borrowing bill authorizes spending on environmental restoration, land conservation and urban agriculture. A tax incentive for land conservation would have its cap increased from $50,000 to $75,000 under the new law. The compromise bill provides funding for what officials have said would be a $65 million state contribution toward a $300 million project dredging Boston Harbor to allow larger ships to use terminals. New Bedford Harbor would also receive $35 million in state funding earmarked for a federal dredging project. Urban agriculture programs could see $8 million in funding and up to $111.2 million would be used to fund the cleanup and development of recreation areas in populous areas with limited access to parks. During a bill-signing ceremony at the State House, Patrick said he was proud to sign the legislation that would allow the state to have a “green future and a strong economy.” Sen. Marc Pacheco, co-chair of the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee, said the bill authorizing investments in environmental projects “will truly be an investment in the air that we breathe, the water we drink, and the land that we walk on that produces the food that we all consume here in this great Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” The governor in his final term asked lawmakers to advance more than $20 billion in long-term borrowing bills and the proposals, while redrafted, were all shipped back to him to become laws.
- C. Quinn, State House News Service

View full text here

View land protection funding chart here