The Newsletter of the Massachusetts Land Conservation Community
August 22, 2023, Volume 21, Number 8
Ten Acres in Reading Donated to Protect Open Space and Wetlands
In April 2023, the Reading Open Land Trust (ROLT) received a generous donation of nearly ten acres of open space and wetlands from Bill and Rosemary Lewis. The parcel, located behind homes on Grove Street, and which used to be used as well heads for the Town of Reading, adds to a larger assemblage of open space owned by the Town and other abutters. It is also contiguous to large wet areas. Considering increasing climate challenges, ROLT feels protecting these wetlands was vital to help mitigate flooding in Reading, and hopes to be able to collect more acreage in the future toward this goal and toward protecting open space.
It's membership season here at MLTC. If you find value in the programs and resources we provide (like eNews), consider becoming a member, or renewing your membership if you haven't already. It's easy to do online, or send check payable to Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition, 18 Wolbach Rd., Sudbury MA 01776. Membership benefits. Learn more / more options.
Tall pines and a lush understory on Carlisle Conservation Foundation land made for pleasant cycling along Curve Street earlier this month. #OurMassLandTrusts
Massachusetts State Dinner at Rally
Friday, September 8, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Broadway Pub, 1504 N.E. Broadway, Portland, OR
Heading to Land Trust Alliance Rally in Portland? Anyone with Massachusetts connections is invited to join our traditional Massachusetts Dinner. We'll have a private room and dedicated server for ala carte orders, so drop by when you can for a drink, dinner or both!
Conservation & Housing in Collaboration
Thursday, September 14, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. via Zoom
This one-hour discussion will start with a brief summary of potential avenues for collaboration between land conservation and affordable housing that have been covered in prior meetings this year, then discuss whether and how to further dig into any of them. Part of MLTC's Stronger Together networking series, intended for staff and board members of land trusts and their conservation partners. Facilitated by Robb Johnson, and not recorded. Register.
MLTC Conservation Partners Meeting (formerly known as “Steering Committee”)
Friday, September 22, 10:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Hybrid: Barnstable Land Trust, 1540 Main St, West Barnstable, MA and via Zoom
Land trust staff and board members as well as conservation partners are welcome to this quarterly meeting, featuring relevant news from state agencies, a timely update on state and federal policy matters, announcements, and this quarter’s featured topic: increased state and federal funding for land conservation, and how to access it. Registration required here only if you're attending via Zoom.
Development Staff: Engaging Business / Corporate Support
Wednesday, September 27, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. via Zoom
This month's focus topic will be "how to engage corporate and local business support for land conservation". We invite you to share a successful business collaboration which we can discuss and learn from, and come with questions for your development colleagues. A Stronger Together networking event facilitated by MLTC. This call will not be recorded. Register.
Land Trust / State Agency Retreat
Thursday, October 5, in-person at Harvard Forest, Petersham, MA. 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. programming, followed by optional informal social time
Friday, October 6, in-person at Harvard Forest and via Zoom, 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
The Retreat, hosted by MLTC and the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, is an opportunity for staff of Massachusetts land trusts and state agencies involved in land conservation to build relations and learn together. It will include targeted discussion topics and fun activities. Discussions will not be recorded. There is an overnight option for up to 23 people. Rooms are primarily shared accommodation, two to three people per room. Thursday attendees are welcome to join overnighters for social time Thursday afternoon/evening. Cost: Retreat only = $20 (includes coffee/tea throughout the day). Lunch is BYO. Additional cost for overnight accommodation = $90. Overnight dinner and breakfast are potluck. Register for the Retreat. Agenda coming soon.
State Budget Finalized
Governor Healy signed the fiscal year 2024 budget on August 9th. The approved budget includes significant increases to several lines of importance to the land conservation community, including DCR State Parks and Recreation, funded at $105.6 million ($20.6 million more than last year); Department of Environmental Protection, funded at $52 million ($6.6 million more than last year); Climate Adaptation and Preparedness, funded at $10 million ($4.6 million more than last year); Office of Environmental Justice, funded at $8.8 million ($7.4 million more than last year); Division of Ecological Restoration, funded at $5.4 million ($1.1 million more than last year); and the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, funded at $1.5 million ($500,000 more than last year). The Healthy Soils Program was funded for the first time with $1,020,000, following release of the Healthy Soils Action Plan earlier this year.
Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool
Farmers can use the this tool to determine what programs and/or resources they may be eligible for after the devastating floods earlier this summer. Links to many other assistance sources can be found on MDAR’s 2023 Agricultural Flooding Guidance & Resources webpage. In addition, USDA – FSA has made some of their programs and policies more flexible. Learn more.
BioMap Town Reports Now Online
These Town Reports provide an overview of the BioMap components and summary information for each municipality. View them here.
Chapter 61 Calculator Updated
The Masswoods.org Chapter 61/61A calculator has been updated with the newly approved fiscal year 2024 rates, which are in effect through June 2024. Use this tool to estimate property taxes for land enrolled under the Chapter 61/61A programs. You can also download the UMass Extension/DCR Chapter 61 publication.
LGBTQ+ Conservation Professionals Network
This relatively new group hopes to cover topics such as creating safe space in the outdoors for affinity groups, how land trusts can protect queer culture spaces, and career growth as a queer person. The first learning session will be Thursday, August 24, 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (ET). RSVP here. There will also be a LGBTQ+ reception at Rally on Friday, September 8, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Sign up to receive meeting notices here.
Stormwater Planning Series
Application deadline: Friday, September 8
This free, 6-month training and technical assistance program offered through SNEP (Southeast New England Program) helps guide communities through the process of developing a conceptual design for a nature-based stormwater retrofit in a selected drainage area. Held virtually with five 2-hour training sessions over the course of six months, plus one in-person site visit. Learn more here and here.
Collaborative Approaches to Establishing Stormwater Utilities
Tuesday, September 12, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Last in a series, this talk is sponsored by Mass Rivers, Raftelis, Tighe & Bond, OARS, and SuAsCo Wild & Scenic Stewardship Council. Free. Learn more and register.
Conservation Restrictions (CR) Baselines 101
Tuesday, September 12, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
This course, hosted by MACC and taught by Nick Rossi, Land Protection Specialist, Mass DCR, will cover the basics of baseline documentation reports for conservation restrictions. This will include a step-by-step process on how to do everything from fieldwork, report contents, and document storage. If your organization has never done baselines on its CRs, or has a significant backlog, not to worry. Special attention will be paid on how to catch up. Learn more and register.
ACEP-ALE and WRE Programs as Tools for Farmland Protection
Wednesday, September 27, 1:00 p.m.
Learn about ACEP-ALE and WRE programs as tools for farmland protection, participate in making recommendations to the MA NRCS State Technical Committee, and help to shape the role and scope of this ACEP-ALE Program sub-committee to advance farmland protection efforts across the state. This group will plan to meet quarterly. All interested parties welcome. Register.
In-Person Events and Outings
Graduate Certificate in Unoccupied Aerial Systems (Drone) Piloting and Data Processing
Interested in using drones for baseline documenting or stewardship purposes? This 9-credit, 4-course program taught by professional pilots and data analytic experts can be completed in one year. Two courses are online and two courses are taken in person at either UMass Amherst or its Mount Ida location in Newton, MA. The program prepares students to sit for the initial aeronautical knowledge test, Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG), required for FAA Remote Pilot Certification. Learn more and apply.
Ipswich Field Trip: Dam Removal and Green Infrastructure Projects
Friday, September 8, 11:00 a.m. (or paddle at 10:00 a.m.) – 12:30 p.m.
Learn about community engagement, climate adaptation, and ecological benefits related to the Ipswich Mill Dam removal and nearby green infrastructure projects, with optional paddle and networking time. Hosted by the PIE-Rivers Partnership and Ipswich River Watershed Association. Learn more and register.
Wilderness First Aid
September 9 & 10 (Saturday & Sunday), 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Stewardship Training Center, Plymouth, MA
Accidents happen. People get hurt, sick, or lost. The temperature drops, the wind picks up, and it starts to rain. Would you know what to do? Wildlands will host SOLO Wilderness Medical School to teach a course on Wilderness First Aid. Learn more and register.
MACC's Young Professionals Committee Kick-Off Networking Night
Thursday, September 14, 6:00 p.m., Craft Food Halls - Revolution Hall, Lexington, MA
Are you within the first ten years of your conservation career in a conservation commission, consulting firm, or are from another association (like a land trust)? After a hiatus during COVID, the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions' (MACC') Young Professionals Committee has been re-ignited, and meets quarterly to provide networking support, professional development, and educational growth. MLTC's ECCN members are welcome to attend. Learn more and register.
Urban Forests: Solutions for a Changing Climate
Friday, September 15, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., hybrid, though in-person attendance is limited
This conference brings together researchers and practitioners to highlight the latest urban forestry research and innovative management examples to help meet significant funding opportunities of the Inflation Reduction Act. Limited in-person attendance at the Yale School of the Environment, New Haven, CT. The conference will be recorded. Jointly convened by the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology and the USDA Forest Service, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Natural Areas Conservancy. Learn more and register.
Eastern Old-Growth Forest Conference
September 21 – 23 (Thursday – Saturday)
For the first time in 19 years, experts will convene to discuss the special role old forests play in today's world. Workshops will include forest dynamics, ecology and biodiversity; balancing preservation and management; climate change implications; and health and wellness impacts and benefits. Hosted by the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. Learn more and register.
Women on the Land Training
Application deadline: Friday, September 22
Course: October 26 – 29 (Thursday – Sunday)
Harvard Forest, Petersham, MA
Keystone Project is partnering with Women on the Land (WOTL) to provide an intensive 3-day, women-only, retreat-style training program focusing on forest and wildlife conservation. The curriculum will include indoor and outdoor sessions on forest ecology and management, wildlife management, forest health, land conservation, and landowner outreach. Limited to 25. Room and board are provided. Seeking women and gender minority applicants. Learn more and apply.
Run for Wildlife
Sunday, September 24
MassWildlife Field Headquarters, Westborough, MA
Join MassWildlife for a Run for Wildlife to support endangered species conservation in Massachusetts. All proceeds will support the conservation of rare and at-risk species. The Run will include a 5K, 10K and Kids Fun Run. Learn more and register.
Massachusetts Town Forest Conference
Saturday, October 21, 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Ashland, MA Community Center and Town Forest
This free event, which fosters collaboration among a range of professionals and volunteers who help manage community forests, will feature presentations, networking opportunities, and field tours. Foresters, planners, arborists, conservation commission members, land trusts, nonprofit organizations, and forest landowners are welcome. Learn more and register.
Massachusetts Rivers Alliance Celebrates You and Fall
Sunday, October 22, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Hale Reservation, Westwood, MA
Join Mass Rivers for an afternoon of food, refreshments, a live band, fun and community! Details and buy tickets.
Save the Date! MACC's Fall Conference
Saturday, October 28, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Devens Common Center, Devens, MA
The theme of MACC's (Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions') fall conference is "Back to Basics for Conservation Commissions: From Foundations to the Future". Workshops will focus on Conservation Commission ABCs, building climate resiliency for municipalities, and networking. Commission members, staff, friends, and consultants are invited. Registration opens in September.
Historic New England 2023 Summit
November 2 & 3 (Thursday & Friday), hybrid, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. both days, with a reception Thursday, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The VETS, downtown Providence, RI
The Summit will explore how 21st-century challenges and opportunities are transforming the fields of historic preservation, architecture, urban planning, conservation, arts and culture, museum studies, collections management, public history, and education. The program includes keynote presentations by regional and national leaders, panel discussions, networking opportunities, and more. Learn more and register.
2023 Federal Climate and Energy Funding Opportunities
This list, compiled by the Biden administration, includes information on various federal funding programs, including many funded by the Inflation Protection Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, with application deadlines and links to application information. View the list.
Application deadline: September 1
STREAM (Solutions Through Research, Education, and Art in Massachusetts) grants support projects that incorporate one or more of four focus areas (healthy coastal ecosystems, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, resilient communities and economies, and environmental literacy and workforce development); incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and accessibility principles; and cultivate partnerships. Grants can be used for educational initiatives, small research projects, seed funding for innovative efforts, college student research, classroom initiatives, and rapid response projects to tackle a current challenge. Grants are offered under the MIT Sea Grant. Learn more and apply.
Southeast New England Program Opportunity to Advance Resilience (SNEP-SOAR)
Last day to ask questions: Friday, September 1
Application deadline: Friday, September 15
This new program is designed to improve climate resiliency throughout high priority disadvantaged communities in Southeast New England. It supports a wide range of project types including planning, implementation, outreach, training, and capacity building/staffing; and will prioritize projects that emphasize strong community input and participation. Learn more.
Municipal Dam Removal Projects Request for Proposals (RFR)
Application deadline: Friday, September 1, 5:00 p.m.
The Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) seeks applications from Massachusetts municipalities for dam removal preliminary design studies. These studies provide the agency with critical information for future ecological restoration planning and climate adaptation. Projects should be at an early stage of development and/or decision-making. Selected projects will be eligible to receive technical assistance,which will result in a brief report, preliminary level design for dam removal, and a construction cost estimate. Learn more here and here.
Merrimack Conservation Partnership: Two Grants
Application deadline for both grants: Thursday, September 15, close of business
Eligible towns: see list; Learn more.
Land Conservation Grant Program underwrites transaction costs—appraisals, surveys, title research, staff time, etc.—on conservation transactions that protect land identified as a priority in the Merrimack Valley Regional Conservation Plan.
Environmental Science, Education and Outreach Grant Program provides funding for environmental science, education and outreach activities related directly to the Merrimack River or its watershed in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Funds can be used for activities such as youth or public environmental educational activities, development of outreach and educational materials, river clean ups, water quality testing and monitoring activities, and other related activities.
Liberty Mutual Foundation Climate Resiliency Grants
Application deadline: Friday, September 15
These grants are for organizations in Boston, Brockton, Brockton, Cambridge, Chelsea, Quincy, Randolph, and Somerville for work on three targeted areas: nature-based solutions; training/skills development for green jobs of the future; and developing resilient and sustainable infrastructure. Priority populations served across all proposals should include low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Learn more.
Community Forest Program Grants
Info webinars: Wednesday, September 20, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. and Wednesday, October 11, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Registration link will be added soon to the CFP website
Application deadline: Friday, January 12
This program provides financial assistance to Indian Tribes, local governments, and qualified non-profit conservation organizations to establish community forests by protecting forest land from conversion to non-forest uses through fee simple acquisition of private forest land. Public access is required for all projects. Learn more.
Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Grants
Application deadline: Thursday, September 28
This grant program will combine the 2023 call for projects from the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program (RCP), created under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, with the Neighborhood Access and Equity Program (NAE), which was authorized under the Inflation Reduction Act. Trails and active transportation are eligible for funding. Projects located in economically disadvantaged areas will be prioritized and may receive a larger share of federal funds. Learn more.
$10 Million Grant Opportunity to Enhance Environmental Justice in New England Communities
Application deadline: Friday, September 29
This grant competition of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Region 1 Office is for an "Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center" (EJ TCTAC), which will help New England communities in the six New England states and 10 Tribes and other environmental justice stakeholders access federal technical assistance and resources to address environmental and energy justice concerns. Learn more.
Seaport Economic Council Grants
Application deadline: Sunday, October 1
This program offers five categories of flexible funding for communities to implement projects that cultivate and stimulate the maritime economy and job growth. The program is open to all Massachusetts coastal communities and other qualified public entities. Learn more. Apply.
MassDEP Technical Assistance Grants (TAGs)
Application deadline: Friday, October 13
Info session video
Info session presentation
Grants of up to $20,000 are available to community and municipal groups to enhance public participation in assessment and cleanup activities at oil or hazardous material disposal sites. Learn more.
NOAA Restoring Fish Passage through Barrier Removal
Application deadline: Monday, October 16
Proposed projects should reopen migratory pathways and restore healthy habitat for fish through dam removals and taking out in-stream barriers, while increasing climate resilience and recovering endangered species. Proposals between $1 million and $20 million from non-government organizations will be considered. Learn more.
NOAA Restoring Priority Tribal Fish Passage through Barrier Removal
Application deadline: Wednesday, November 8
This funding will support U.S. federally recognized tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, and tribal organizations in implementing on-the-ground fish passage work and in building tribal organizational capacity. Learn more. Tribes are also eligible to apply for the NOAA Restoring Fish Passage through Barrier Removal grants (above).
NOAA Climate Ready Workforce Grants
Letter of Intent deadline: Thursday, November 30
The aim of these grants is to build a workforce that is climate literate, informed by climate resilience, and skilled at addressing consequent challenges. Open to state, tribal, territorial, and local governments, higher education institutions, and non-profits in coastal states/territories working in coastal areas. Learn more.
Resources and Opportunities
One Seat Open on the Conservationist Pesticide Advisory Council
Application deadline: Saturday, September 30
Interested in filling this spot? Learn more.
Need Help with Your Land Conservation or Community Engagement Project?
Application deadline: Friday, September 22
Consider a team of faculty-supervised graduate students from the Antioch Environmental Studies Collaborative Service Initiative to help with your land conservation project. Learn more and apply.
Two Resources from American Farmland Trust (AFT)
A Farmer's Guide to Soil Health Economics
This guide reviews current evidence on the costs and benefits of soil health practices available from three different research areas: budget analyses, national surveys, and research trials. Read the guide.
Agricultural Carbon Programs: From Chaos to Systems Change
This paper discusses discuss the current state of 22 agricultural carbon market programs, explores four main reasons why farmer participation is low, and recommends 12 strategic changes that would help these programs to succeed. Read the report.
Understanding Forest Soil Carbon
This article by Ali Kosiba, University of Vermont Extension, and published by Northern Woodlands, examines how much carbon is stored in forest soils, how it gets there, how it is released, and practices that could benefit forest soil carbon. Read the article. Also read the first article in this series of four, which provides an introduction to forest carbon.
Resources to Implement Water Quality into Conservation
Taking the Plunge: Guidance and Inspiration to Help Land Trusts Protect and Restore Water Quality offers land trusts guidance on how to contribute to water quality in land conservation activities and programs by directing them to processes, resources, and technical assistance. An LTA publication, funded by Chesapeake Bay Funders Network.
Creating Backyard Habitat Programs
See LTA's blog on land trusts' role in re-naturalizing fragmented landscapes. Consider completing their survey on what you (land trusts) most need to create backyard habitat programs and similar.
Growing Season's Effect on Tree Growth
The growing season in Massachusetts is becoming longer. And though a longer growing season means additional tree growth, the new growth comes at a cost. Faster-growing trees tend to live shorter lives. The density of wood also tends to be reduced, making the trees more susceptible to stem breakage during storms. There is also some evidence that carbon storage in the tree is reduced. Read more.
Calendar of Culinary and Agricultural Events
Check out this listing of events and "ag"-tivities across Massachusetts. A fun way to discover our state.
Trail Passport Program Engages Community
The Mattapoisett Land Trust recently launched its free Trail Passport program, in which kids and families collect stamp-rubbings from 11 different stamp stations all around town, exploring land trust land and trails along the way. The reward for a completed passport is a $10 gift card to the Oxford Creamery, a local ice cream shop. This project was an enthusiastic collaboration with students and teachers in the metal fabrication, CAD, and graphics departments at the Old Colony Voc. Tech. High School. Passports are available at the town library.
Volunteer for COASTSWEEP
COASTSWEEP, the statewide beach cleanup sponsored by CZM (Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management), is part of an international campaign organized by the Ocean Conservancy in Washington, DC. in which participants all over the world collect trash and other marine debris, and record data to help reduce future marine debris problems. Learn more.
Recycle Smart Massachusetts: What do those codes mean, anyway?
Those little codes at the bottom of plastic containers are resin identification codes (RICs). Each number (1-7) represents the kind of resin used in the manufacturing of a product or package. Unfortunately, because the numbers are enclosed with three "chasing arrows", many people assume any plastic item is recyclable. Which is not the case. Recycle Smart Massachusetts can help you determine what's recyclable and not. Learn more.
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