The Newsletter of the Massachusetts Land Conservation Community
July 20, 2023, Volume 21, Number 7
20 Acres Protected as "Forever Wild" via
Thanks to a collaboration between Hilltown Land Trust and Kestrel Land Trust, twenty acres of forested land in Williamsburg, including 1,400 feet of scenic river frontage of Mill River upstream from Devil's Den, has been protected. Says Sally Loomis, Executive Director of Hilltown Land Trust: "Protecting land around waterways is crucial to the health of the river, since the land acts as a buffer against erosion, pollution, and floods". The Forever Wild designation means that the forest can mature naturally, with minimal management, and remain largely undisturbed by human activities. This project – which was an end result of a lawsuit in which adjacent land suffered environmental damage due to violation of federal stormwater requirements – means that the land is now preserved solely for its environmental benefit, with an eye toward thoughtfully addressing climate change in a very natural way. Hilltown Land Trust owns the land, while Kestrel Land Trust holds a conservation restriction on the property. Read more here and here.
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 made out to Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition, 18 Wolbach Rd., Sudbury MA 01776. Membership benefits. Learn more / more options.
July rains made for lush trails at Horseshoe Pond in Berlin, protected through the collaboration of Sudbury Valley Trustees and the Town of Berlin. #OurMassLandTrusts
Topics of Special Interest to Small-Staffed Land Trusts
Monday, July 31, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. via Zoom
Those managing small-staffed land trusts often face a unique set of concerns. Topics of interest could include: managing a sustainable volunteer program, working with contractors, efficiency tools, project best practices and more. Bring your questions and ideas. A Stronger Together networking event facilitated by MLTC. This discussion will not be recorded. Register.
Topics of Special Interest to All-Volunteer Land Trusts
Tuesday, August 15, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. via Zoom
The focus of this call will be Human Resources, with topics such as contractors vs. staff, growing the organization, hiring and firing, staffing - both volunteer and paid, and others as participants bring up. A Stronger Together networking event facilitated by MLTC. This call will not be recorded. Register.
Agricultural Conservation Interest Group
Wednesday, August 16, 11:00 a.m. – noon via Zoom
Join us to learn about the soon-to-be released Farmland Action Plan, and discuss a two-pronged proposal for accelerating agricultural conservation in Massachusetts. First, MLTC is considering hosting a multi-part training to more fully educate land trusts and others about APR options, tools, and farmland protection in general. Second, MLTC and partners are considering convening a work group to vet and prioritize various policy initiatives that have been proposed to improve and increase agricultural preservation. Participants will be invited to offer ideas and/or express interest in learning more about either of these ideas for moving ag conservation forward. This conversation will be hosted by MLTC and guided by David Viale (MDAR's APR program), Jamie Pottern (American Farmland Trust) and Kathy Orlando (Sheffield Land Trust). This call will not be recorded. Register.
Massachusetts State Dinner at Rally
Friday, September 8, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Portland, OR, location TBD
Heading to the Land Trust Alliance Rally in Portland? Anyone with Massachusetts connections is invited to join our traditional Massachusetts Dinner. If interested in attending, please answer a few questions to help us book an appropriate venue.
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.
Save the Date – Land Trust / State Agency Retreat
October 5 & 6 (Thursday & Friday)
In person at Harvard Forest, Petersham, MA on Thursday, October, 5. In person with a hybrid option via Zoom on Friday, Oct. 6. More information coming soon!
Technical Potential of Solar Study: Report and Story Map Now Available
The Department of Energy Resources released the results of its Technical Potential of Solar Study, which estimates the total technical potential for solar energy development in Massachusetts, and identifies the most suitable locations for solar development. The final report and Story Map can be found on the Department's website. The Story Map is a web-based spatial data viewer that allows users to explore solar potential and suitability of individual parcels in the state. MLTC and partners are still in the process of analyzing the report and its methodology.
Resources for Farmers Affected by Flooding
In response to the recent devastating flooding in Western Mass, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) has begun compiling a resource page and potential actions for impacted farmers to take. This list will be updated as MDAR becomes aware of additional resources.
Over $11 Million in Grant Funding Announced for 68 Trail Improvement Projects Across the Commonwealth
The state announced $11.6 million in funding through the MassTrails Grant Program to support 68 trail improvement projects. These projects will expand and connect the state's network of off-road, shared-use pathways and trails to use for recreation, exercise, and environmentally friendly commuting. The MassTrails Grant Program provides matching grants, technical assistance, and resources to individuals, municipalities, non-profits, and other public entities for design, construction, and maintenance of hiking trails, bikeways, and shared-use paths. Read more.
Chronicle Features Land Conservation
On July 18th, WCVB-TV’s Chronicle newsmagazine devoted an hour to the topic of forests and land conservation. MLTC provided background information for the piece, which featured MLTC members Kestrel Land Trust, Mass Audubon, Native Land Conservancy, Northeast Wilderness Trust, The Walden Woods Project, and Russ Cohen. The episode can be viewed online in four separate links (Walden Pond, Re-Wilding Forests, Preserving Muddy Pond, Farm Food Aid).
Land for Housing and Conservation: It Can't Be an "Either/Or" Anymore
A comprehensive article by the Community Preservation Coalition (CPC) highlights the sentinel points Steve Rosenberg, former Sr. VP of Scenic Hudson and Executive Director of the Scenic Hudson Land Trust in New York, made at the Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference in March regarding the need for cooperative engagement between housing and land conservation proponents. It also emphasizes the role CPA plays in bringing these two groups and concepts together. As Rosenberg noted: "Communities have a lot to gain from land trusts and affordable housing groups supporting one another. By doing and communicating about our work differently, our current constituents might begin to see a bigger picture, and new constituents might begin to find their way to us. Will your land trust be part of that change?" The article ends on a positive note: "While creating a paradigm shift in funding dynamics and land use will never be an easy task, the 195 communities across the Commonwealth that have adopted CPA represent exactly the kind of changes in thought that Rosenberg urges us to consider".
Stormwater Financing Workshop Series
Attend one or both. Free. Learn more and register.
Capitalizing on Federal Funding & Considering Stormwater Utilities as a Sustainable Funding Solution
When: Wednesday, July 26, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Where: Pompositticut Community Center, 380 Great Road, Stow, MA (breakfast & snacks included)
Collaborative Approaches to Establishing Stormwater Utilities
When: Tuesday, September 12, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. via Zoom
The series is sponsored by Mass Rivers, Raftelis, Tighe & Bond, OARS, and SuAsCo Wild & Scenic Stewardship Council.
Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) Quarterly Update
Wednesday, August 16, 10:00 a.m. – 11:25 a.m.
In addition to providing the most up-to-date information about SLF in Massachusetts, this session also features USDA entomologist Tracy Leskey, who will talk about how trucks, trains, and other transportation vehicles impact the spread of this invasive pest. Register. Continuing education credits are available.
Notice of Public Hearing on Addition of Two Species to the Prohibited Plant List
Tuesday, August 22, 10:00 a.m. – noon
The purpose of the meeting is to hear public testimony about the intent to add Callery pear/Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana) and Wall-lettuce (Mycelis muralis) to the Prohibited Plant List. Learn more and register.
In-Person Events and Outings
Adult First Aid + CPR
Saturday, July 29, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Stewardship Training Center, Plymouth, MA
Staff and volunteers of land conservation organizations are invited to register for this first aid and CPR training that conforms to American Heart Association guidelines. Participants will receive certification cards valid for 2 years. Course provided by Certified Rescue Courses. Learn more and register.
13th Annual Tribal Lands and Environment Forum
Registration deadline: Monday, July 31
Forum date: August 14 – 17 (Monday – Thursday)
Online and in person (Syracuse, NY)
Hosted by the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP), this forum for environmental professionals from Tribes, USEPA, State/Local/Federal agencies, community organizations, and other interested parties will meet to share knowledge and learn from one another how to improve management, protection, and restoration of Tribal lands. Agenda. Learn more. Register.
Rally: The National Land Conservation Conference
September 6 – 9 (Wednesday – Saturday), Portland, OR
Register. Early-bird pricing through Monday, July 24.
Rally, the national networking and learning event for land conservation practitioners, covers workshops and seminars in a wide range of topics. There will also be regional receptions, field trips, and more. Get (re-)energized and inspired by over 1000 conservation colleagues. Schedule-at-a-glance. Workshop grid. Learn more.
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.
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.
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: Tuesday, August 1, close of business (also December 1 and April 1)
Awarded by Farm Credit East and CoBank, these grants range from $500 to $10,000 to help promote awareness of, and grow all types of, agriculture, forest products and commercial fishing, including both traditional and non-traditional production and marketing approaches in the six New England states, New York and New Jersey. Learn more and apply.
Buzzards Bay Water Quality Grants
Application deadline: Tuesday, August 1, 4:00 p.m.
Municipalities within the Buzzards Bay watershed are eligible to apply. Projects must implement recommendations in the Buzzards Bay Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP), and can include: feasibility, design, and construction of stormwater facilities to treat discharges affecting surface waters; tasks to achieve MS4 compliance; feasibility studies to enhance nitrogen removal from wastewater treatment facilities; restoration of wetlands, habitat, and migratory fish passage; construction of boat pump out facilities; and others. Learn more.
Outreach and Technical Assistance Grants
Application deadline: Sunday, August 6
These grants are sponsored by a partnership between NACD (National Association of Conservation Districts) and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Funding may be used to conduct outreach, advance education and stewardship, and provide technical assistance to landowners and operators. One of NRCS's goals is to enroll new and underserved communities into its conservation programs via this grant program. Learn more here and here.
Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
Application deadline: Thursday, August 17
Thanks to resources unlocked by the Inflation Reduction Act, this funding helps advance public-private partnership solutions to climate-smart agriculture and conservation on agricultural land. How to apply. Learn more.
NOAA Climate Resilience Regional Challenge
Letter of Intent deadline: Monday, August 21
Full applications by invitation only; deadline: Tuesday, February 13, 2024
This funding supports collaborative approaches to coastal resilience at regional scales. Proposals need to address four primary priorities: risk reduction, regional coordination and collaboration, equity and inclusion, and enduring capacity. Applicants should also select one of two parallel funding tracks: Regional Collaborative Building and Strategy Development or Implementation of Resilience and Adaptation Actions. Learn more.
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.
MassDEP Technical Assistance Grants (TAGs)
Estimated 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 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.
Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Grant Program (RCN)
Application deadline: Thursday, September 28
This funding will provide $3 billion over the next 5 years to improve connectivity in communities affected by divisive infrastructure such as highways. The focus of this program includes improving access to everyday destinations, emphasizing equitable development, and eliminating transportation barriers. Examples of projects include complete streets, multiuse trails, regional greenways or active transportation networks and spines. 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
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Region 1 Office has announced a grant competition for an "Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center" (EJ TCTAC). The Center 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. Details forthcoming. Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) expected in late July 2023. Learn more.
Resources and Opportunities
Are Your Trails Correctly Represented on AllTrails?
If you're looking to correct any misplacement of your trails on AllTrails, check out their new tool, which allows registered organizations to manage trail information and view data analytics on visitation. Learn more and register (free).
New Regional No-Till Equipment Rental Program
Berkshire and Hampden-Hampshire Conservation Districts have partnered to form a western Massachusetts regional no-till equipment rental program. Open to farmers in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties, the program features low soil disturbance equipment, soil testing, and mentoring in low/no-till farming methods. Currently available are the Esch 5512 and Esch 5565 seed drills with more equipment coming soon. For details contact Berkshire Conservation District or Hampden-Hampshire Conservation District.
New USDA Forest Service Climate Risk Viewer
The Climate Risk Viewer tool is designed to evaluate climate risks and vulnerabilities. Currently in beta version, users can assess climate adaptation needs, and identify gaps between current management practices and potential adaptation approaches. Learn more.
Massachusetts Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Viewer
This updated tool includes new infrastructure and coastal inundation data. The viewer is designed as a general planning tool to support broad-scale vulnerability assessments and identification of potential adaptation strategies consistent with Coastal Zone Management's StormSmart Coasts Program.
New MVP Planning Resource
GEAR: Guides for Equitable and Actionable Resilience is a new tool by the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program that provides access to climate data and guidance to assess local climate change impacts, as well as suggested actions and case studies for building community resilience.
White House Climate Resilience Fact Sheet
This fact sheet outlines what the Biden-Harris administration has put into place to enhance climate resilience.
Accessible Summer Fun
The Department of Conservation and Recreation's (DCR’s) Universal Access Program provides outdoor adaptive, accessible recreation opportunities at state parks, pools, and rinks in Massachusetts throughout the year via a host of partners. Learn more.
Diversifying Partnerships in the Face of Forest Threats: New Research on EAB Management
Three new articles published in the Journal of Forestry discuss nonindigenous insects and pathogens (NIIP), particularly emerald ash borer (EAB), and include a new framework for diversifying management approaches to include Tribal partners. It also includes a review of forester and logger responses to the threat of EAB. Read the summary.
The Long Way Home...
Learn about eight species of migratory fish that make a 200-mile journey up the Connecticut River every year on Connecticut River Conservancy's new site, MigratoryFish.org.
Going Camping This Summer? Leave the Firewood at Home!
Learn about this and other ways to avoid spreading invasive species.
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