What's New


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.

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

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.
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
1A

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

1A-Montage
1B

Farmland Access & Transfer: Opportunities for Land Trusts

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

 
1C

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
 1D-Presentation
1E

Land Conservation 101: Where Do I Start?

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

1E-Handout
1F

Troubleshooting Land Negotiations

- Bob Wilber, Mass Audubon;

  Rob Warren, The Trustees of Reservations

 
1G

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

  David Santomenna, The Trustees of Reservations

1G-AmendingCRs

1G-Presentation

1G-Presentation2

1H

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

1H-Presentation

1H-Handouts

1i

Pipeline Strategies & Article 97 Lands

- Leigh Youngblood, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust;

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

1i-Presentation
1i-Handouts
1J

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

1J-PresentationA

1J-PresentationB
 

1K

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

- Illene Roggensack, Third Sector Innovations

1K-Presentation

1K-Handout

1L

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

1L-Presentation

1L-Handout

1M

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

 
2A

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

 

 

2B

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

  Chris Merritt, Sasaki Associates; Maggie Owens,

  MassLIFT AmeriCorps

 
2D

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

 
2E

Land Management, Stewardship & Outreach Using Web Mapping Technologies

- Jason Stanton, Montachusett Regional Planning Commission; 

  Angela Sirois-Pitel, The Nature Conservancy

2E-PresentationA

2E-PresentationB

2F

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

2F-PresentationA

2F-PresentationB

2G

EEA Partnerships & Funding Opportunities

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

2G-Presentation

2G-PresentationPDF

2H

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

2H-Handout
2i

The Nitty Gritty of CRs, Step by Step

- Irene DelBono, MA EEA

 
2J

Got Land? Creative Ways to Promote Properties & Engage Supporters

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

  Greenbelt

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

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

  Thomas

 
2M

Park Equity & the Role of Urban Greenways

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

  Richardson & Rowe

 
3B

Personal Stories: How & Why We Do Conservation

- Leslie Luchonok, Environmental/ Community Consultant

3B-Handout
3C

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

 
3D

Using Ecological Integrity & Conductance to Prioritize Land for Conservation

- Scott Jackson, UMASS Amherst

3D-Presentation
3E

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

  Department of Conservation & Recreation

 
3F

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

3F-Handout
3G

2015 Property Tax Exemption Primer

- Ray Lyons, Attorney; Nikki McKoon, Mass Audubon

3G-Handouts(5)

3G-Presentation

3H

Analyzing your Fundraising Special Events: Cash Cow or Sinkhole?

- Illene Roggensack, Third Sector Innovations

3H-Handout
3i

88 Ways to Make Your Land Trust Stronger

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

 
3J

Planting Trees to Save Energy, Reduce Stormwater & Improve Neighborhoods

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

 
3K

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.