What's New


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.

America's Great Outdoors Report Released
February 1, 2011

President Obama launched the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative to develop a 21st Century conservation and recreation agenda. The report was published in February of 2011.

 

View the report.

MLTC Steering Committee Meeting June 10th
January 6, 2011

The Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition meets quarterly to discuss issues of interest to the land conservation community. These meetings are open to all.

A typical meeting may include:

  • Presentation on a topic of general interest or critical import to the community
  • Status of any current legislative initiatives
  • Update on state conservation agency information
  • Discussion and vote by supporting members on any pending Coalition business 

The Coalition welcomes suggestions for topics of interest or discussion.

 

The next Steering Committee meeting is Friday, September 9th.

Victory! House passes Off-Highway Vehicle Bill!
June 2, 2010


  ACTION ALERT!

 
Victory! House Passes Off-Highway Vehicle Bill!

In early June the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed priority legislation addressing long-standing environmental and child safety concerns regarding Off Highway Vehicles (OHVs), which includes all terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, and dirt bikes. The bill passed the Senate earlier this year. The House and Senate versions are slightly different, and the bills may either go to conference committee for reconciliation before being signed into law or the Senate may accept the House version, sending it to Governor Patrick's desk for his signature. 

With over 300 miles of illegal, environmentally destructive OHV trails on Department of Fish and Game lands, over 80% of Department of Conservation and Recreation park managers reporting illegal OHV use on their properties, and similar complaints from the hunting and fishing community, land trusts, parks groups, water supply land managers, municipal officials, and utilities, this much-needed bill will give law enforcement officers the tools they need to curb illegal, dangerous, and destructive OHV use.

The bill reflects many of the Department of Conservation and Recreation OHV Working Group Recommendations, in which the Mass Land Trust Coalition, Mass Audubon and many others participated.

The bill:

  • Expands law enforcement capacity to provide consistent and effective enforcement of OHV laws and regulations. Strengthens fines and penalties for OHV offenses, including trespassing.
  • Provides funding for enforcement through sharing of a portion of penalty revenue with municipal and state enforcement officials.
  • Requires registration for most OHVs.
  • Creates a revenue source for public OHV trail acquisition and maintenance, using a portion of registration and penalty revenues. Having safe, well maintained trails paired with strengthened fines for illegal use should encourage riders to stay in appropriate areas and not on sensitive conservation lands.
  • Prohibits children under 14 from riding OHVs unless in a race, rally, or event. Both nationally and in Massachusetts, OHV accidents causing death or serious injury to children have been on the rise, including recent local tragic deaths of young children and teenagers. Under existing law, children as young as 10 can ride on their own property. The child safety provisions of the bill were a major driver of the legislation, with parents and the medical community working closely with the legislature.
  • Strengthens communication among riders, land managers, conservation organizations, enforcement agencies and other stakeholders by establishing an OHV Advisory Group similar to those in other states. 

The new law will likely take effect in January. Check Mass Audubon's Weekly Roundup at  www.massaudubon.org/advocacy/beaconhill.php for mor information as the OHV legislation takes the final few steps to the Governor's desk. This has been a team effort across the conservation community and with the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Thank you for your support on this important issue!
 

June 12, 2010 


 

 

Bernie McHugh Honored by Mass Audubon
Mass Audubon
April 27, 2010

Bernie McHugh was honored as one of the "People Making a Difference" in Mass Audubon's Land Protection E-Newsletter, Land for People and Wildlife issue of April 27, 2010.

Read article