BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $3,723,669 in grant funding for conservation projects across the state in a continued effort to ensure land protection, address climate change, and protect biodiversity within the Commonwealth. As part of the funding, grants were provided to eight land trusts through the Conservation Partnership Grant Program, 11 communities through the Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) Grant Program, and eight projects through the Conservation District Innovative Projects Grant Program.
“Land protection and conservation plays an integral role in our administration’s efforts to protect the Commonwealth’s environmental resources and address the impacts of climate change,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The funding awarded to these communities and non-profits across Massachusetts will ensure that stakeholders are equipped with the tools and resources necessary to maintain important working lands and wildlife habitat as open space.”
“Cities and towns across Massachusetts are on the frontlines of conserving critical natural resources, protecting open space and increasing access to the outdoors,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is proud to work hand-in-hand with our municipal partners to be better prepared to protect natural environments for all residents to enjoy.”
“Partnerships with communities and stakeholders is the cornerstone of the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to help municipalities implement locally prioritized conservation projects,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The funds awarded today will support efforts across the Commonwealth to improve water quality and wildlife habitats, protect land, and enhance outdoor recreational opportunities.”
The Conservation Partnership Program provides funding to assist non-profit organizations in acquiring interests in lands suitable for conservation or recreation purposes.
The following are the Conservation Partnership grant recipients:
The LAND Program (formerly the Self-Help Program) was established in 1961 to assist municipal conservation commissions in acquiring land for natural resource protection and passive outdoor recreation purposes. Any municipal conservation commission with an approved Open Space and Recreation Plan is eligible to apply for this program.
The following are the LAND grant recipients, a brief project description, and dollar amount of the award.
The Conservation District Grant Program, which was created in 2017, is funded by the 2014 Environmental Bond Bill and provides funding to local Conservation District offices helping them implement locally prioritized conservation projects. Conservation districts are not-for-profit entities composed of locally elected boards dedicated to the conservation of natural resources within a region or area, that work cooperatively with municipal, state and federal agencies to preserve and protect natural resources at the local level by promoting best management land practices.
The following are the Conservation District grant recipients:
“It is up to us to ensure that Massachusetts remains the forefront of addressing climate change issues and prioritizing land protection,” said State Representative Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox), Chairman for the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture. “As a recipient of both the Conservation Partnership Program and the Conservation District Grant Program, Berkshire County now has an opportunity to provide necessary resources to implement conservation projects. I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration for their leadership and support towards protection biodiversity within the Commonwealth.”
“Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for awarding these funds and I am thrilled that the Greater Worcester Land Trust was chosen as a recipient,” said State Representative Kim Ferguson (R-Holden). “Congratulations to all of the organizations that received grants, as they will be providing increased opportunities for outdoor recreation and resource protection which benefit the citizens of the Commonwealth and generations to come.”
“Land conservation efforts are critical to provide for the future sustainability of watersheds, habitat and passive enjoyment of environmentally unique areas,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer). “I am grateful to our land trusts and towns in recognizing and working on these efforts especially Ashby, Holland, Palmer and Mount Grace and thank the administration for their continued support.”
“Thoughtful land conservation is critical to maintaining the natural resources which make our community so unique,” said State Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren). “I want to congratulate both Holland and Palmer for ensuring that these properties will be protected and enjoyed by local residents for many years to come.”
“Working to protect open space and mitigate against climate change is always a priority,” said State Senator Adam G. Hinds (D-Pittsfield). “These projects, and the efforts behind them by the Berkshire and Franklin Conservation Districts, the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, and their partners will make great strides in western Mass. towards these key goals, which greatly benefits us all.”
–Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
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