What's New


Massachusetts Commission on Financing Forest Conservation Report Released
January 11, 2012

The Massachusetts Commission on Financing Forest Conservation report offers a thoughtful set of recommendations for increasing the pace of forest conservation in Massachusetts. The Commission was chaired by Leigh Youngblood of Mt. Grace Land Conservation Trust and assisted by Jim Levitt of Harvard Forest.  

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, legislators and members of the Commission announced the completion of the Commission’s report on February 13, 2012.

View Summary

View Report 

Land Trust - State Collaboration Successes
January 10, 2012

The annual State Agency - Land Trust retreat, held on February 2 - 3, 2012,  was a valuable opportunity for fine-tuning the collaboration/interaction between land trusts and state agencies.

View a report on some collaboration successes 

Conservation Appraisals and OSRPs for Small Communities grant – Expanded and extended!
January 10, 2012

In an effort to meet demand for funding of Open Space and Recreation Plans (OSRPs), EEA has issued a revised Conservation Appraisals and OSRPs for Small Communities Grant opportunity.

Changes:

Extended deadline to June 11, 2012

Expanded opportunities to meet OSRP reimbursement requirement:

To receive OSRP funding, the town must submit a complete application to any one of the following Division of Conservation Services grant programs in the Fiscal Year 2013 round: LAND, PARC, Drinking Water Supply Protection, Landscape Partnership, or, they may commit to holding an interest on a property that is the subject of an FY13 Conservation Partnership grant application submitted by an eligible non-profit.

The program provides reimbursement funding to towns with a population of 6,000 or below for OSRPs and/or appraisals contracted in order to apply to the LAND grant program. Funding is non-competitive; all eligible applicants will receive contracts on a rolling basis until all available funding is allocated. Towns must have an executed state contract prior to beginning work. To receive funding for an appraisal, the Town must submit an application to the FY13 LAND grant program. Reimbursement under this grant is not contingent upon the town's selection to receive funding through other DCS grant programs.

Contact: Celia Riechel, 617-626-1187 celia.riechel@state.ma.us

2012 Mass Land Conservation Conference a Great Success!
January 9, 2012

2012 MASS LAND CONSERVATION CONFERENCE

Conference Brochure available here.
See conference workshop materials here.

22nd Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference
Working Lands: Farms, Forests and Conservation
Saturday, March 24, 2012 – Worcester, MA

Thanks to our five sponsors, 80 presenters and many volunteers, the 22nd Mass Land Conservation Conference was a great day for 491 attendees.

About the conference: This annual, day-long training and networking event provides land trust board members, staff, volunteers, municipal commission members and others interested in land conservation with the information, skills, and connections they need to be most effective.

The 2012 conference theme is Working Lands: Farms, Forests and Conservation
with a focus on farm and forest stewardship, hot topics in agriculture such as renewable energy, and community-based garden and farm projects.

In 2012, the workshop tracks will be:
- Community Conservation
- Emerging Issues & Special Topics
- Food, Farms &Conservation
- Land Management & Stewardship
- Land Protection Tools & Techniques
- Legal, Tax and Compliance Matters
- Organizational Management & Fundraising

The Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference is co-convened by the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition and The Trustees of Reservations' Putnam Conservation Institute. Conference sponsors include: American Farmland Trust, Land Trust Alliance, Mass Audubon, The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land.

Informationn on Conference Exhibitors here.

Regulations and Application for 2012 Mass Land Conservation Tax Credit
January 2, 2012

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
 Regulations and applications for the Conservation Land Tax Credit

 

This note is to notify everyone that has expressed interest in the CLTC program that there is a new 2012 Conservation Land Tax Credit Application on the EEA website at this time.  (see link below)  Please disregard the older 2011 version originally listed there in favor of this new one.  No major changes, just organized in what we hope to be a more user friendly format.  If you already sent in a 2012 application with the old format you do not need to resend it.

Check the CLTC web site every so often as we will be posting additional information now and then.  For instance, within a week we will have a document posted there that better explains how we evaluate and weight the Conservation Values and Purposes presented in applications.

The CLTC program does have a $2 million dollar allocation for 2012 so applications are welcome.  Also, please note that applicants can apply for a tax credit of less than the $50,000 maximum.  Last year we gave a credit for a $20,000 donation so there is no reason not to include smaller donations in the mix.

Thank you for your interest in the program.

Link to 2012 CLTC Page:

http://www.mass.gov/eea/land-use-habitats/land-conservation/massachusetts-conservation-tax-credit-program.html

Tom Anderson, Executive Secretary
State Commission for Soil, Water & Related Resources
EOEEA, 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114-2524
(617) 626-1013

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View Regulations
View Summary Sheet

 

MassLIFT AmeriCorps Request for 2012 Host Site Applications
January 1, 2012

The Massachusetts Land Initiative for Tomorrow (MassLIFT) AmeriCorps program invites non-profit organizations and public agencies working on land conservation in Massachusetts to apply for hosting members in its 2012 service year (September 11, 2012 – August 23, 2013). The program aims to meet community needs for land protection and stresses regional collaboration. The MassLIFT program supports 20 AmeriCorps members, each completing 1,700 hours of service over an 11.5 month term. MassLIFT members serve in one of four positions: regional conservationists, land stewards, community outreach coordinators, and service learning coordinators. The 2012 MassLIFT Host Site Application Packet and Host Site Application Forms is posted on the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust website at http://www.mountgrace.org/join-masslift

Host Site applications are due by March 1, 2012 and host sites will be selected by April 2, 2012.

For more information contact the MassLIFT AmeriCorps program manager: Dee Robbins (Email: robbins@mountgrace.org Phone: 978-833-4192)

Mass Releases Climate Change Adaptation Report
September 27, 2011

 

Section 9 of The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008, directed the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) to convene an advisory committee to develop a report analyzing strategies for adapting to the predicted changes in climate.

This report, prepared by EEA and the Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee, is the first broad overview of climate change as it affects Massachusetts, the impacts of this change, vulnerabilities of multiple sectors ranging from natural resources, infrastructure, public health, and the economy. It also provides an analysis of potential strategies that could better prepare us for this changing world.

View report
 

New Rules for Public Trail Access for Disabled
September 13, 2011

Department of Justice
Rules effective March 2011

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued new rules regarding access to recreation facilities by people with mobility disabilities. These rules apply to land trust trails that are open to the public. The rules require the removal of barriers to wheelchair access to trails so that there are 32” openings for users. Rules include access for Other Power Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMDs), although there is nothing in the new rules that affirmatively requires any land trust or agency to make physical changes to trails to accommodate the use of OPDMDs.

The following resources can help clarify these rules and land trust responsibilities:

Public Trails and New Rules for Access
A presentation given at the Mass Land Trust Coalition Steering Committee meeting on Friday, September 9, 2011, by Gary Briere , Mass Dept of Conservation and Recreation
View or download presentation

Interim Procedure for the Use of Power-Driven Mobility Devices on Mass Audubon Sanctuaries
Provided as a sample, this interim procedure provides guidelines for the use of other power-driven mobility devices (OPDMD) on land owned and/or managed by Mass Audubon.
View or download sample procedure

The American Trails website which offers a growing library of land owner experiences with the requirements under the new rule. 
www.americantrails.org/resources/accessible/power-mobility-federal-register.html

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) regulations amending the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title II regulation, 28 CFR Part 35, effective March 15, 2011.
www.ada.gov

Training Events in Western Mass
September 10, 2011

Valley Event

CONSERVATION RESTRICTION & LAND MANAGEMENT: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Thursday, November 10
Conte Building, USFW, Hadley MA
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

 

All land trust and conservation organization board, staff and volunteers and town conservation agents are invited to an evening workshop on Conservation Restriction & Land Management: Challenges and Opportunities presented by Wil Hastings (Hilltown Land Trust), Alain Peteroy (Franklin Land Trust) & Doug Bruce (Berkshire Natural Resources Council). Network over refreshments, join the discussion on land management challenges and successes and participate in a discussion on opportunities and challenges facing small land trusts.

Hosted by the Mass Land Trust Coalition, , please RSVP to MLTC by emailing LSarquilla@MassLand.org with subject line: “Valley Event” And please pass this invitation on to your board, volunteers, staff, and town conservation agents.

Berkshires Event

Thank you to all who participated in making our October 19th Berkshires Event a great success! 

 

PILOT Payments and Non-Profits: Resources
August 28, 2011

PILOT Payments and Land Trusts

The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) has recently released its position paper on efforts by local government entities to collect payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs). This issue has serious implications for land trusts.

Read the MNN position paper in our Land Trust Operations library at: www.massland.org/library/mass-nonprofit-networks-pilot-position-statement

Visit the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network website at www.massnonprofitnet.org/resources/ for more information and resources.

Deadline for Submission of Charitable Conservation Restrictions - October 15th
August 26, 2011

Dear MLTC community,

It is that time again, when I need to establish a deadline for submission of charitable Conservation Restrictions for those who will be seeking a federal tax deduction. Many thanks go to all those who help with the review process, especially Arthur Hughes, who has generously and graciously donated his time and considerable expertise to reviewing CRs, to Nicole Sicard, who often stays late to notarize and send out CRs, and our legal department that manages to fit reviewing the CRs into their too busy schedules! Not to mention the extraordinary patience and understanding of all of you as we do our best to get the CRs back to you as quickly as we can.

Nevertheless, we must still set a deadline -- October 15th -- for submission of charitable CRs to guarantee review in time to complete and record the CRs by the December 31st. Please do not call if you can't get your CR to us until a week or two later - Arthur and I will do our best to review every CR in a timely fashion, including those submitted after the deadline. This year is a bit more complicated because of the new tax credit program, but we will do our best to get everything done on time.

Irene DelBono

Conservation Restriction Reviewer

New Land Protection Grant Program for 500+ Acre Parcels
August 9, 2011

August 09, 2011

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary (EEA) Richard K. Sullivan Jr. today announced the Landscape Partnership Program, an innovative new grant initiative that encourages non-governmental organizations already pursuing large landscape-scale land protection investments to partner with the state and local communities.

Through existing state capital funds already dedicated to land protection, the Landscape Partnership program will offer $4 million in competitive grants to municipalities, non-profit land trusts and EEA agencies – the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR), Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Department of Fish and Game (DFG) – for projects that permanently protect parcels of land of at least 500 acres. Applications for the new grant program are due October 28.

Read more of this press release here
For more information on the grants or to apply, visit www.mass.gov/eea/dcs-grants

 

Mass Conservation Land Tax Credit Regulations
June 7, 2011

Final work on the Draft regulations for the new Massachusetts Conservation Land Tax Credit is in progress. Two public hearings were held in June and written testimony was accepted until June 27, 2011. You can view the draft regulations at the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs web site at www.mass.gov/envir under Land Use, Habitats and Wildlife, select Land Conservation, or obtained them by calling Tom Anderson at (617) 626-1013. 

 

NOTICE OPEN PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD AND PUBLIC HEARINGS
CONSERVATION LAND TAX CREDIT PROGRAM
DRAFT REGULATIONS

 Notice is hereby given that the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA) under its authority pursuant to Chapter 509 of the Acts of 2008, and in conformance with M.G.L. Chapter 30A, will hold a public hearing on new regulations at 301 CMR 14.00 (Massachusetts Conservation Land Tax Credit Program)

Chapter 509 of the Acts of 2008 establishes a state income tax credit for landowners who voluntarily donate qualifying conservation land to a municipality, the state or a nonprofit conservation organization. Under the initiative, EEA must determine whether properties proposed for donation meet public interest standards for natural resource protection.  These regulations define interests in real property that are eligible for certification as a Qualified donation under M.G.L. c. 62, § (6)(p) and under M.G.L. c. 63, § 38AA. Eligible lands include those that protect drinking water supplies, wildlife habitat and scenic vistas.  (The Department of Revenue will also be promulgating regulations to implement this program at 830 CMR 62.6.4.) 

Written testimony will be accepted until 5:00 pm on Monday, June 27, 2011.  Written testimony should be submitted via email to the address thomas.anderson@state.ma.us or via regular mail to: Tom Anderson, Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, 100 Cambridge St., Suite 900, Boston, MA 02114.  Copies of the proposed regulations are available on the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs web site at www.mass.gov/envir under Land Conservation, or may be obtained by calling Tom Anderson at (617) 626-1013.

2011 Mass Land Conservation Conference Materials
April 28, 2011

 

The Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference on March 26, 2011 presented 35 workshops on topics of interest to land conservation practitioners.

You can access handouts and presentations for many workshops here.

Good News About the Environmental Budget!
April 27, 2011

Special Budget Update   

From The Environmental League of Massachusetts                     April 27, 2011

Today the House took up amendments to the House Ways and Means environmental budget that increased funding by a total of $3.9 million dollars. 

Increases to the House Ways and Means budget included:

  • $1.4 million for the main DEP account
  • $700,000 for DCR state and urban parks
  • Restoration of the line-item for the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program at $150,000
  • $60,000 for the Division of Ecological Restoration
  • $275,000 for recycling (had been zeroed out in HW&M's budget)
  • Inclusion of specific language to ensure that the Toxics Use Reduction Institute receives its share of funding
  • $300,000 for the Dept. of Agricultural Resources for its "buy local" programs
  • $527,000 for DCR's Office of Water Resources (includes a large earmark).
  • $500,000 for the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife account within the Dept. of Fish and Game

Also included was language that directs DFG to detail a plan for a long term funding solution to dam repairs and maintenance including the feasibility of a revolving loan program and utilization of seaport bonds and directs DCR to develop a plan for long term funding solution for repairs and maintenance of seawalls.

While in the case of DEP and DCR these increases do not get us to the levels included in the Governor's budget, they are now a good starting point for our fight in the Senate. It's not too early to contact your state Senator and urge him or her to support increased funding for our environmental agencies.  The Senate Ways and Means Committee will release its budget in mid-May.

We want to thank our champions-Vice-Chair of HW&M, Rep. Steve Kulik, Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee Anne Gobi, Rep. Frank Smizik, Rep. Carolyn Dykema, Rep. Cleon Turner, Rep. Jay Kaufman, and Rep. Paul Donato.   Please take a moment to thank these Representatives who made the case to their colleagues about the importance of our environmental agencies and programs.

Also, thanks to everyone who made calls or contacted their House members during past week.  We heard from many House members that they were hearing from constituents.  Your efforts helped!

On to the Senate-stay tuned.