The Newsletter of the Massachusetts Land Conservation Community
June 22, 2023, Volume 21, Number 6
Plan Approved: 300+ Acre Squibnocket Pond Reservation Created in Aquinnah
In December 2020, Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation and the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission purchased over 300 acres of land in Aquinnah, creating Squibnocket Pond Reservation, thanks to the generosity of the Kennedy Schlossberg family, which sold the land at a discounted price, and made great efforts to ensure that the land was conserved. In 2021, the Land Bank purchased an abutting 30 acres of land. The Land Bank and Sheriff's Meadow then jointly conducted a thorough ecological inventory, and used this inventory as the basis of a management plan, which was approved by the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs in May 2023. Sheriff's Meadow and the Land Bank jointly hold title to the property, based on their proportional shares of the purchase price (44 percent / $12 million and 56 percent / $15 million respectively). Squibnocket Pond Reservation is a property with great cultural, ecological, and scenic value. The land enjoys half a mile of Atlantic Ocean beach, acres of tumbling dunes, salt marshes, freshwater ponds and wetlands, rolling fields, forests of oak, and a mile of shoreline along Squibnocket Pond. There will be 22 parking spaces available to the public, and parking will be allowed on a reservation basis, free of charge, during the summer season and into early fall. The plan is to open the Reservation to the public in the summer of 2024. Read more.
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Out on a recent ride, I enjoyed the scenic view of Clapboardtree Meadow, protected by Westwood Land Trust. #OurMassLandTrusts
Conservation & Housing in Collaboration
Tuesday, June 27, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. via Zoom
Part of the Stronger Together networking series, this one-hour discussion will focus on how to partner with an affordable housing advocate / developer / community land trust. Intended for staff and board members of non-profit land conservation organizations. Facilitated by MLTC. This discussion will not be recorded. Register.
Development Staff: Growing Land Trust Membership
Wednesday, July 12, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. via Zoom
Join development colleagues to network and gather ideas on this month's focus topic of growing land trust membership. Share an approach that's been successful and / or describe a challenge that the group may be able to address. Facilitated by MLTC. This call will not be recorded. Register.
Topics of Special Interest to AVLTs (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. Facilitated by MLTC. This call will not be recorded. Register.
Healy Administration Announces Forest Initiative
On June 7th, the Administration announced a new Climate-Focused Forestry Initiative to ensure Massachusetts' forests are managed to optimize carbon sequestration and mitigate climate harms as part of meeting the state's aggressive climate goals. Plans include increasing investment in land conservation to prevent forest conversion; convening a forest reserves group to establish new goals for forest reserves on public and private lands based on the potential to absorb carbon and support biodiversity; creating new incentives for private woodland owners and municipalities to optimize climate resilience and carbon storage in forest management practices; and pausing new forest management work on state lands for six months while a committee of scientific experts develops new climate-oriented management guidelines for state property.
Conservation Land Tax Credit update
An Act increasing the conservation land tax credit (H.2839/S.1940) is MLTC's top legislative priority this year. Efforts to attach it as an amendment to the FY24 state operating budget were not successful. A hearing on the bill was held June 6th before the Joint Committee on Revenue. MLTC joined in submitting joint testimony on behalf of 21 organizations and MLTC coordinated live testimony from a panel including Robb Johnson, Tara Christian (TNC), Alain Peteroy (Franklin Land Trust) and Jessica Whritenour (The 300 Committee Land Trust). This bill would raise the annual cap under the Conservation Land Tax Credit (CLTC), the state income tax credit for donations of conservation land, from $2 million to $5 million to address a waitlist for the program that stretches to 2025. Thanks to all who have contacted your legislators on this bill. Stay tuned for our next ask!
EPA's Wetland Authority Curtailed
On May 26th the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to limit the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Agency's ability to regulate wetlands under the Clean Water Act. In short, they ruled that the Clean Water Act only applies to wetlands directly connected, via surface water, to bodies that are considered "waters of the United States". This ruling will have particularly adverse impacts on wetland resources in about half of all US states that lack strong state wetlands laws. Fortunately for Massachusetts, our state regulations were in many cases already more stringent than federal regulations, so the ruling's direct impact on Massachusetts is limited.
Former EEA Secretary to lead The Trustees
The Trustees of Reservations has appointed Katie Theoharides as President and CEO, effective July 10. She served as Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 2019-2022 and, most recently, as head of offshore wind operations in the Eastern U.S. for the German energy company RWE. A native of Western Massachusetts, she previously served as Executive Director of the Hilltown Land Trust, an affiliate of The Trustees. Congratulations Katie, and welcome back to the land trust community!
Healey-Driscoll Administration Awards Nearly $1M for Land Protection Projects
Six Massachusetts land trusts have been awarded a total of $980,965 through EEA's Conservation Partnership Grant Program, which provides funding to assist in acquiring interests in lands suitable for conservation or recreation. In selecting proposals, EEA chose projects that conserve larger land areas, promote landscape connectivity, protect habitat important for climate change resiliency, and provide specific public recreational opportunities, such as for people with disabilities. The awardees are: Buzzard's Bay Coalition, to protect 57 acres; Essex County Greenbelt Association, to protect two parcels – 41.8 acres and 18.61 acres; Harwich Conservation Trust, to protect 2.3 acres of highly sensitive shoreline; Rochester Land Trust, to protect 61 acres; and The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, to protect 4.7 acres. Details here.
Wildlands in New England: Past, Present, and Future
This recently-released report maps and characterizes all permanently conserved lands in New England that are managed to be forever wild. It answers three questions: 1. Where are wildlands located in New England? 2. What are the characteristics of these wildlands? and 3. What is their current protection status? It provides a baseline for policy makers, landowners, conservationists, and citizens to accelerate wildlands conservation — permanently protecting land from development and active management while allowing natural processes to unfold with minimal human interference. This effort stems from the original Wildlands and Woodlands vision, a partnership between Harvard Forest, Highstead Foundation, and others. Executive Summary. Full report. Webinar. Read more.
Introduction to Affordable Housing for Land Trusts
Tuesday, June 27, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Forrest King-Cortes (Land Trust Alliance) and Colin Custer and Raffa Saposhnik (Yale School of the Environment) will lay out what land trusts need to know about affordable housing, and how land trusts can contribute solutions. They will share a new set of resources designed to introduce land trusts to the fundamentals of affordable housing and models for equitable partnership between affordable housing organizations and land trusts. $70 for Alliance members. Learn more and register.
Massachusetts ACEP-ALE Program Sub-Committee Meeting
Wednesday, June 28, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Help revive the ACEP-ALE (Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easement) Program Sub-Committee of the MA NRCS State Technical Committee. Learn about ACEP-ALE and WRE programs as tools for farmland protection, participate in making recommendations to the State Technical Committee, and help to shape the role and scope of this sub-committee to advance farmland protection efforts across the state. This group will plan to meet quarterly over Zoom. All interested parties welcome. Register. Contact Jamie Pottern (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rita Thibodeau (email@example.com) with questions.
In-Person Events and Outings
Massachusetts Walking Tour
June 22 – 24 (Thursday – Saturday)
Day hikes and concerts schedule
Since 2010, singer-songwriters Mark Mandeville & Raianne Richards have organized an annual grassroots bipedal trek to raise awareness of recreational greenspace throughout the state and create folk coffeehouse-style musical events in each town. Learn more and join in.
Seasonal Land Steward Training
June 26 & 27 (Monday & Tuesday), 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Stewardship Training Center, Plymouth, MA
Offered by a collaboration of stewardship professionals from Southeastern MA land conservation organizations, this two-day introductory training program for seasonal land stewards includes training in core stewardship competencies, networking, and collaborative learning with land stewards. Learn more and register.
Forest Health Workshop Series
Fridays in June and July, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Various locations around the state
Join DCR foresters at this walk-and-talk field series about how to identify and manage forest pests and diseases. Sessions will be outdoors over varied terrain. Learn more and register.
Climate Justice Week at World Fellowship Center
July 15 – 22 (Saturday – Saturday), Albany, NH
The week will include a bio blitz; talks on "Tools for Climate Justice Work", "Renewable Energy with Justice" and more; a presentation by teen organizers from Green Roots, based in Chelsea, discussing their work to address the environmental and public health threats in their community; nature photography; and more. See the calendar for details. Make a reservation.
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.
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'll also be regional receptions, field trips, and more. Get (re-)energized and inspired by over 1000 conservation colleagues. Schedule-at-a-glance. Workshop grid.
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
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.
SNEP 2023 Stormwater and Natural Infrastructure Grants
Deadline to submit questions: Friday, June 23 to SECoastalNE@EPA.GOV
Application deadline: Friday, June 30
The Southeast New England Program (SNEP) anticipates awarding up to six (6) grants of $400,000-$600,000 each to fund climate resilient infrastructure that promotes nature-based solutions, habitat restoration, and protection to restore ecosystem services degraded by poor stormwater and development practices. Learn more and apply.
LSPA Environmental Justice Grants
Application deadline: rolling until Friday, June 30, 5:00 p.m.
These small grants support implementation of community-driven projects that help better understand and address local environmental and public health issues. The grants target efforts by non-profit organizations and volunteers in communities with Environmental Justice (EJ) populations. The LSPA encourages groups and organizations to partner together to achieve their goals. Learn more. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed on a quarterly basis, no later than 5:00pm EST on June 30, 2023, September 29, 2023, and December 15, 2023.
Coastal Resilience Grants
Application deadline: Tuesday, July 11, 4:00 p.m.
Info session webinar
Info session presentation
These grants provide financial and technical support for local and regional efforts to increase community understanding of coastal storm and climate impacts, evaluate vulnerabilities, conduct adaptation planning, redesign and retrofit vulnerable public facilities and infrastructure, and restore shorelines to enhance natural resources and provide storm damage protection. Learn more.
LAND and PARC Grant Programs
Application deadline: Thursday, July 13
The LAND grant program is for municipal conservation commissions looking to protect conservation land. The PARC grant program is for municipalities looking to acquire parkland, renovate an existing park, and develop a new park. Learn more about the LAND program. Learn more about the PARC program.
Northeast Forests & Rivers Fund
Application deadline: Thursday, July 13
Funds are available to restore and sustain healthy rivers, forests and grasslands that provide habitat for diverse fish and wildlife populations. Projects that incorporate outreach and / or partnership with communities are encouraged. Only grant requests between $75,000 and $300,000 will be considered. Learn more.
Conservation Partnership Grants
Application deadline: Monday, July 17, 3:00 p.m.
These grants assist 501(c)(3) organizations in acquiring land in fee or a conservation restriction, as well as assist with due diligence costs associated with gifts. Learn more. Contact Melissa Cryan with questions.
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.
MassDEP Technical Assistance Grants (TAGs)
Estimated open date: Thursday, June 29
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.
Neighborhood Access and Equity Grants
RFP coming later
The Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant Program, established under the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022, will provide $3 billion over the next 5 years to improve connectivity in communities affected by divisive infrastructure. It will fund projects designed to build or improve 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.
Federal Funding Options for Trails, Transportation, and Communities
In addition to the Neighborhood Access and Equity Grants (see above), sources include Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program, and the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Grant Program. Learn more.
Resources and Opportunities
Your Input Needed: Survey on Non-Profit Compensation and Benefits
Deadline: Friday, June 30
Please take this survey on compensation and benefits of non-profits in New England. The data will be used to build a free report and searchable database, which are important tools that non-profits can use as a benchmark for their own practices. This study, undertaken by TNSE (Third Sector New England), is funded in part by The Boston Foundation. TNSE recommends printing this blank copy of the survey to help you gather important information before completing the survey online.
Chapter 61 Calculator Updated for FY24
The Chapter 61/61A calculator has been updated with the newly approved fiscal year 2024 rates. Use this tool to estimate property taxes under the Chapter 61/61A programs. For more information on Chapter 61, visit this MassWoods webpage or view this online publication.
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).
Advanced Notification of New Project Filings in EJ Geographic Areas
Here are projects proposed within a designated geographic area of environmental justice (EJ) populations. Learn more.
Northeastern Coastal Sandplain Challenges & Recommendations
The Sandplain Grassland Network is a research and management collaborative that focuses on conservation and restoration of rare sandplain grassland habitats. It recently published an article summarizing the progress made in conserving sandplain habitats, management recommendations to maintain and expand this dwindling habitat, and future challenges to be explored. Read the article. Four of the authors work in ecology on Nantucket, and two are from MLTC member organizations.
Grassroots Program of GrowBoston
The Grassroots Program supports development of community gardens, urban farms, and other open space by providing grants, City-owned land, and technical assistance to groups and organizations. GrowBoston is the name of the City of Boston's new Office of Urban Agriculture.
Can New England Feed Itself in Years to Come?
A Regional Approach to Food System Resilience, recently released by the New England Food System Planners Partnership, outlines the role Massachusetts consumers can play in making the region's food system stronger and more self-reliant. Massachusetts is home to 45% of the region's population and accounts for 46% of food sector employment in the region. But it holds only 13% of agricultural land. Based on these facts, the report investigates how can we achieve the goal of producing and consuming 30% of New England's food needs by 2030. Read the report.
Celebrate the Edgewater Food Forest in Mattapan
The quarter-acre Edgewater Food Forest is home to fruit trees and berry bushes, where anyone in the local community can harvest the food for free. It's a collaboration between neighborhood groups, the City of Boston, and the nonprofit Boston Food Forest Coalition, a community land trust that has helped build 10 of these sites so far.
Summer Wild Turkey Survey
Does it seem like turkeys are taking over your neighborhood? Get involved in this turkey survey (June 1 – August 31), which helps MassWildlife biologists determine productivity, compare long-term reproductive success, and estimate fall harvest potential. Learn more.
Mass Audubon's Monthly Outdoor Almanac
Check out what animals, plants, and other features of Mother Nature are "in season" each month in the Outdoor Almanac.
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