What's New


MLTC Annual Member/Steering Committee Meeting - Friday, Feb 24, 2017
January 13, 2017

Next meeting: Friday, February 24, 2017, 10 am - 1 pm

Location: MA DFW Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA
Room #108, the Southeast Conference Room in the Richard Cronin Building 

Draft Agenda available here

Please attend the annual meeting to vote! 2017 Ballot

Massachusetts Land Trusts, Coalition Members and Friends, All Massachusetts Land Trusts, MLTC Member organizations and Friends are encouraged to send a representative and participate in the Mass. Land Trust Coalition Steering Committee Meetings. All state and Federal agency personnel active in Massachusetts land protection are cordially invited, as well.

2017 Steering Committee meeting dates:
     Friday, February 24, 2017            
     To be announced at Annual Meeting

View Steering Committee meeting minutes:
   Nov 18, 2016 Minutes  
                    November legislative update here
   Sept 16, 2016 Minutes                     September legislative update here
   May 13, 2016 Minutes
   Feb 26, 2016 Minutes                                                           
February legislative update  here
   Nov 20, 2015 Minutes
   Sept 17, 2015 Minutes
   May 15, 2015 Minutes                      
Handouts:  Economic Benefits    Superhero in our Midst
   February 27, 2015 Minutes                     
   November 21, 2014 Minutes           

   September 12, 2014 Minutes
   May 16, 2014 Minutes
   Feb 16, 2014 Minutes

 

2017 Mass Land Conservation Conference Register Now!
January 12, 2017

2017 Mass Land Conservation Conference
Scaling Up: Meeting New Challenges
Convened by the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition 
Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 8am – 4pm
Worcester Technical High School
One Skyline Drive, Worcester, MA

Register today at: www.cvent.com/d/yvqgxv/4W

 

A Conversation with E. O. Wilson
MLTC is pleased to announce that Edward Osborne Wilson, usually cited as E. O. Wilson, an American biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist and author will be the Plenary speaker at our 2017 Mass Land Conservation Conference, scheduled for Saturday, March 25 at the Worcester Technical High School, Worcester, MA. Learn more about E. O. Wilson here

Subscribe to Conference Updates!

Conference Information:

Download:

        Brochure

PDF

        Printable Registration Form PDF
        Workshop Schedule PDF
        Workshop Descriptions PDF
        Speaker Biographies PDF

 

Sponsor the 2017 conference
Sponsor benefits are listed here. If you are interested in sponsoring this year's event, download the form here.

Exhibit at the conference
Details on exhibiting at the conference are here. If you are interested in exhibiting, complete this form. The 2016 exhibitors are found here.

Volunteer for the conference
We depend on the assistance of volunteers to make this conference a success! To volunteer for pre-conference, conference day, or post-conference activities, fill out the form here. Thank you!

Land Trust Regional Workshops
January 9, 2017

MLTC HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR LAND TRUSTS

In our recent survey, Mass Land Trust Coalition (MLTC) member land trusts listed the top challenges facing their organizations. We heard you! Workshop events are co-sponsored by MLTC and the Land Trust Alliance.

February 4, 2017 Southeastern Massachusetts Land Trust Convocation Plenary Speech by Jack Clarke, Mass Audubon, available here.
February 4, 2017 workshop
, "Cracking the Communication Nut" w
orkshop handout here.

November 14th Stewardship workshop was held in Lenox.
Workshop materials
:

  1.  Monitoring Program Annual Planning Calendar

  2.  Sample Monitoring Practices

  3.  Sample Field Guide to Monitoring Conserved Lands

  4.  Sample Volunteer Steward Training Agenda

  5.  Sample Letter to Stewards

  6.  Sample Post Monitoring Landowner Letter

  7.  Sample Annual Monitoring Report Form

  8.  Sample BDR Outline

  9.  Sample BDR

  10. Obtaining Signatures for Older BDR’s

  11. Sample BDR Policy

  12. Easement Revitalization: A Problem Solving Guidebook for Land Trusts

 

For questions, contact info@massland.org.

 

Conservation Assistance for Small Communities Grant Round is Open
January 6, 2017

 

Conservation Assistance for Small Communities

This grant program provides funding to communities with a population of 6,000 people or fewer for the preparation of real property appraisals, Open Space & Recreation Plans (OSRPs), other planning in support of land conservation, and/or development of Open Space Residential Design (OSD)/Natural Resources Protection Zoning (NRPZ) bylaws. Funding is non-competitive; all eligible applicants will receive contracts on a rolling basis until all available funding is allocated. Participants must have an executed state contract before commencing work. To receive funding, the town must also submit a complete and eligible application to any of the following DCS grant programs in FY18 LAND, PARC, Drinking Water Supply Protection (DWSP), Landscape Partnership, Land & Water Conservation Fund, or commit to hold an interest in a property that is the subject of an FY18 application to the Conservation Partnership grant submitted by an eligible non-profit, except, towns may receive funding for preparation of an OSRP if they also develop OSD/NRPZ bylaws. Applications are currently being accepted through April 28th. Funding is available is on a first come, first served basis. Let me know if you have any questions on this email or with the grant application. You can access the FY 17/18 Small Communities application materials using this link http://www.mass.gov/eea/grants-and-tech-assistance/grants-and-loans/dcs/grant-programs/conservation-appraisals.html

 

FY17 Land and Water Conservation Grant Round
Applications due March 9, 2017

FY17 Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant round is open. LWCF grants can be used for acquisition of conservation or recreation land, the development of trails on conservation land, and the development or renovation of parks.

For more information and to apply, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MA DFW Approves New Trails Policy
January 5, 2017

Dear MLTC Members,

We are writing to you to inform you of a new trails policy approved by the MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife).  In response to increasing and unauthorized trail development and maintenance on their properties by various organizations and individuals, MassWillife has determined that only organizations they license may construct or maintain trails on their properties.  MassWildlife has established procedures for trail groups who wish to obtain a License Agreement for trail development or maintenance on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and Access Areas.

The Walking Trails Policy arises directly from MassWildlife’s statutory obligation to protect habitat and provide access for wildlife-related recreation. In essence, it provides that only licensed trails shall be maintained on property owned by MassWildlife.

MassWildlife recognizes that, in certain situations, passage across their lands is desired to maintain the connectivity of existing major walking trails. In such cases, MassWildlife may license an outside group to mark, improve, and maintain a segment of an existing major walking trail crossing one of their WMAs or Access Areas, subject to the conditions underlined in the policy here. They are requesting that other trails cease to be actively maintained. The opportunity for public access is unaffected.

Conservation science has shown that trails often alter and fragment wildlife habitat and adversely affect the behavior of wildlife, including both terrestrial and aquatic species. MassWildlife Director Jack Buckley has stated that MassWildlife’s Walking Trails Policy is designed to address these issues, in keeping with its statutory mission of managing wildlife lands for wildlife and simultaneously accommodating public recreational access.

Outdoor recreational access to WMAs has not changed as a result of the Walking Trails Policy.  MassWildlife lands continue to be open to wildlife-related recreation (hunting, fishing, trapping, nature observation, and photography) and other outdoor activities such as hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. 

We understand that this could affect your land trust. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns. 

  

Mass Land Trust Coalition
info@massland.org
978-443-2233

Land Trusts Sign Historic Cultural Respect Agreement
December 1, 2016

On December 19, 2016, the Native Land Conservancy (NLC) signed the first of what we hope will be many Cultural Respect Agreements with another conservation land trust, the Dennis Conservation Trust (DCT),  and other public and private land owners.  As negotiated, the agreement will provide NLC with formal access to sacred sites and other culturally-significant properties for educational and ceremonial purposes.  This is the first such agreement of its kind on land east of the Mississippi.

News article here

Copy of Agreement here

Another Chance to Help Shape Land Trust Standards & Practices
August 20, 2016

ACTION REQUEST  

Dear Members

Help us help you. We are asking the Massachusetts land trust community to play an important role in shaping the revised Standards and Practices by commenting on the recent draft available here. For more information or to download the Standards and Practices Discussion Draft from the Land Trust Alliance site, click here.

The Land Trust Alliance's Standard and Practices are not a part of the accreditation process. Tthey are important guiding principles for land trusts to follow to ensure best practices. MLTC believes that all land trusts should adopt Standards and Practices as a matter of course. They are self-administered and adhered to by the land trust's governing body. 

How can you help?

The initial community participation phase was March 1 through September 15. Based on your feedback, LTA has created a new discussion draft. The second, targeted comment period will run from mid-October through December. You are invited to comment on the Discussion Draft. You can provide feedback online at: http://www.landtrustalliance.org/topics/land-trust-standards-and-practic... or by email to SandP@lta.org

Everyone's input is valued - that means you! 

Regards,
Marylynn Gentry
Executive Director
 Mass Land Trust Coalition
18 Wolbach Road
Sudbury, MA 01776
mgenmtry@massland.org
(978) 443-2233

Pipeline Action News
August 16, 2016

The Pipeline Awareness Network for the Northeast (PLAN) is reaching out to allied organizations across the state asking them for financial help to prevent Kinder Morgan from going forward with its planned pipeline through Otis State Forest in the southern Berkshires.   If the pipeline were to proceed it would possibly set a precedent that would threaten all Article 97 protected lands.

 

Last March, Kinder Morgan received a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the Connecticut Expansion Project, which would cut through about two miles of Otis State Forest for the purpose of providing natural gas to Connecticut utilities. The company immediately sought to take, by eminent domain, this Article 97 land. The land remains protected in accordance with the state constitution because the legislature has not voted to change its protected status. The Berkshire Superior Court has affirmed Kinder Morgan's eminent domain authority, and the Attorney General's office has not committed to appealing the court's decision.

 

If Kinder Morgan gets a foothold in Article 97 land through federal preemption, this will set the stage for current and future interstate pipeline projects in the Commonwealth.

 

Read more and get instructions on helping to fund opposition here.

Read New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Resolution on Ecological Connectivity, Adaptation to Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation here.

Survey on New England Conservation Policy Needs
June 13, 2016

The New England Forest Policy Group would like to hear from MLTC members on conservation policy needs that might be addressed with a regional approach. Please take the survey and let them know what you think.

Survey is at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NEFPG-SurveyHZ

More information is available here.

Water Flow Device Grants Available - Deceive the Beavers
June 6, 2016

Thanks to a grant from the Nion Robert Thieriot Foundation, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) is excited to again offer grants to fund installation of a limited number of water flow devices to address conflicts with beaver and prevent flooding related to beaver activity in communities throughout the Berkshires, Hampshire, Hampden, and Franklin County.  Note: If you have a problem with beaver-related flooding in another part of the state, please contact us for more information: advocacy@mspca.org

The MSPCA is looking for individuals, non-profit organizations, businesses, and communities that need help mitigating beaver-related flooding problems.

The application form is available online at www.mspca.org/BeaverFunding

Who can participate? Any individual, town, business, or organization in the Berkshires, or Franklin, Hampden, or Hampshire counties.

What are the criteria? A willingness (of all parties involved) to resolve problems non-lethally for the long term, a site that is conducive to flow device usage, and permission of the landowners and the local Conservation Commission to install water flow devices.

How do I request assistance?  Send a description of your conflict site(s) and the limitations of your budget to the MSPCA for consideration.  Starting in the spring, we will evaluate the sites to determine if they are conducive to flow device usage.

Funding assistance: The amount of funding offered to each applicant will depend on the number of requests,  the amount of each viable request, and the ability of each requester to pay for part of the flow device, or the maintenance contract for the device, themselves.

Deadline: Requests will be accepted throughout 2016 until funding is exhausted.
Requests will be considered in the order in which they are received.  Submit ASAP, please.

Send requests to:  MSPCA, Advocacy Dept, 350 S. Huntington Ave, Boston, MA, 02130
advocacy@mspca.org  or 617-541-51

Next Regional Workshop September 21st
May 4, 2016

Next Regional Workshop
 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016   5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Worcester area
Details to be announced

Who Should Attend?
Land trusts, watershed groups, environmental organizations and municipal board members.

For questions, please contact:
Marylynn Gentry, Mass Land Trust Coalition  978-443-2233 or mgentry@massland.org

 

 

 

 

 

FY17 LAND, PARC, and Conservation Partnership Grants
April 3, 2016

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT GRANTS

The Division of Conservation Services is seeking grant applications for its FY17 LAND, PARC, and Conservation Partnership Grant Programs to fund land protection and park development projects.

The DCS grant applications are available to download on the DCS website here.

LAND and PARC grant applications are due by 3:00 pm on July 13.
Conservation Partnership grant applications are due by 3:00 pm on July 18

.

Agriculture Legislation on the Move
April 1, 2016

On May 5th, the Senate passed An Act promoting agriculture in the Commonwealth (SB2286) and several of the 30 provisions are of interest to land trusts, including changes to Chapter 61A which would allow noncontiguous parcels of a farm to be considered together; changes to the estate tax rules that would reduce estate tax rates on farms; provisions supporting community gardens on appropriate Department of Conservation and Recreation land; provisions supporting farmers markets; provisions allowing agricultural commissions to hold land and to prepare plans; a pollinator protection commission; and a Farmland Action Plan and Protection and Viability Advisory Commission.  The bill now goes to the House.   Many of the provisions in the legislation are also in the recently completed Massachusetts Food System Plan.

 

The Farmland Action Plan was also included in the House budget by amendment, and will be offered as an amendment to the upcoming Senate budget by Senator Anne Gobi.   Why a Farmland Action Plan? Lack of reliable statewide data around farmland trends prevents the development and tracking of meaningful targets around farmland retention, protection and access.  A formal state Farmland Action Plan would improve state data collection around farmland and establish formal farmland protection goals and benchmarks, providing a better roadmap for state investments in farmland protection in the future.  The Plan will: (1) determine the resources needed to improve state data collection around farmland trends; (2) establish a statewide baseline of land in active agricultural production, or the process for doing so with improved data collection, and a system for tracking acres of farmland in production over time; (3) set measurable goals and benchmarks related to farmland protection, retention and access; and (4) recommend state program spending levels to meet those goals and benchmarks.  The Plan would consider the regional land use plans that have been undertaken by various Regional Planning Agencies and Councils of Governments, and any available assessments, modelling or scenario planning that predicts future land use patterns, needs or threats. 

 

The Trustees of Reservations, American Farmland Trust, the Massachusetts Farm Bureau have been working to further the Plan.  For more information, contact The Trustees Director of Policy, Jen Ryan.

NED Pipeline Application Withdrawn Others Still Pending
March 30, 2016

On May 23, 2016, in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, J. Curtis Moffatt, deputy general counsel at the Kinder Morgan subsidiary Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, notified the agency that the Northeast Direct pipeline application was being withdrawn. Read more here.
A number of land trusts and private landowners have been approached by representatives of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C. (“TGP”, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners) for permission to survey their land for the TGP Northeast Energy Direct project (NED)—a high-pressure natural gas pipeline planned to run from New York state through northern Massachusetts from Richmond to Dracut. There is great concern in the community that this pipeline is planned to traverse a number of environmentally sensitive areas including publicly and privately owned conservation land. The MLTC board has voted to “strongly oppose the use of any conservation land including conservation properties owned and/or managed by land trusts, municipalities, state and federal government entities for locating natural gas pipelines or infrastructure related thereto.” MLTL has drafted and sent a letter stating this position to Governor Patrick and Secretary Sullivan. The letter can be viewed here.

MLTC is a founding member of Northeast Energy Solutions. More informaiton at www.neenergysolutions.org

A website offering resources and information about the pipeline has been created. That website, www.MassPLAN.org (Massachusetts PipeLine Awareness Network), is hosted by the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT)

Conservation Land Impacted by Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline June 2015

Presentations on Process

Participating in the FERC Process presentation by Jocelyn D'Ambrosio View here

Letters in Opposition

   Attorney General Maura Healey's Cover Letter to FERC on MA Pipeline Study here

   A number of land trusts affected by the pipeline have issued statements and letters. See letters here.

    Read Berkshire Natural Resources letter to Kinder Morgan here.

    Read Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust comments here.

    MA legislators issue joint statement on Northeast Energy Direct pipeline May 15, 2014. View here.

    Read a letter to the New England governors on the pipeline here.

    Read a letter to FERC from Northeast Energy Solutions here.

General Pipeline Information and Resources

    Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline presentation here.

    Northeast Energy Direct Pre-filing Application to FERC here.  Search for Docket # PF14-22

    MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs letter to FERC on the NED project here.

    MACC advice to Conservation Commissions here.

    Energy Price Fluctuations Information Sheet here.

    Jobs Created in Massachusetts by Clean Energy Industry here.

    Harvard Law Clinic Presentation on Protected Land, MA Laws and Eminent Domain here.

 

MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program
June 28, 2015

Grant Information Session:

When: Nov 3, 2015  |   7 pm
Where: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Field Headquarters
1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA

The MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program (MHMGP) is designed to provide financial assistance to private and municipal landowners of protected lands to support active habitat management while fostering partnerships to encourage landscape scale habitat management and expand public recreation on conserved lands.

  For more details click here.