BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded more than $3 million in grant funding to four large-scale conservation projects on over 4,100 acres through the Landscape Partnership Grant Program. The investments are part of the Commonwealth’s efforts to protect lands that help address climate change, provide recreational opportunities and conserve critical habitat.
“We are proud to work with communities and conservation groups to ensure the protection of over 4,100 acres of beautiful open space and wildlife habitat for generations to come,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through investing in these important local projects, our Administration is working to ensure Massachusetts’ ecosystems are resilient to the effects of climate change.”
“This grant program exemplifies how the state can successfully partner with municipalities and conservation groups to ensure the protection of large and important parcels of land,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our Administration remains dedicated to partnering with local communities to expand and conserve public land, protecting Massachusetts’ native species and ensuring residents across the Commonwealth have access to open space.”
Created in 2011 and funded through the governor’s annual capital budget, the Landscape Partnership Grant Program facilitates large acreage projects that sustain the integrity and resilience of ecosystems, enhance the viability of farm and forest economies, increase public outdoor recreational opportunities, and expand partnerships among state, municipal, and non-profit entities. Eligible projects must be a partnership between at least two eligible entities, including municipalities, non-profits, and state agencies, to acquire a minimum of 500 acres of contiguous land.
“These large-scale land conservation projects will not only safeguard our natural resources, but will also provide additional outdoor recreational opportunities for the public,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Engaging different partners to conserve natural resources, address climate change and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities is an integral part of our Administration’s commitment to protect the Commonwealth’s rich natural heritage.”
The following projects received Landscape Partnership grants:
Brewer Brook Forest Preserve Project – $760,000
Recipients: Hilltown Land Trust, the Department of Fish and Game, Kestrel Land Trust, and the Town of Westhampton
Description: This project will protect 1,033 acres of forest land with high ecological integrity in the Pioneer Valley.
Proprietor’s Way Conservation Project – $777,500
Recipients: The Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Town of Freetown, and the Nature Conservancy.
Description: The project will protect 509 acres of forest land, which will become part of the Freetown-Fall River State Forest.
Swift River Conservation Project – $712,500
Recipients: The Franklin Land Trust, the Department of Fish and Game, and the Town of Plainfield
Description: The project will preserve 633 acres of land located on the Swift River and Meadow Brook.
West Quabbin Woodlands Landscape Partnership Project – $760,000
Recipients: Kestrel Land Trust and the Department of Fish and Game.
Description: The project will protect 1,972 acres of land for sustainable forestry, conserve wildlife habitat, safeguard clean water, and guarantee public access for recreation.
“We must continue to take concrete steps to protect our prized open space and advance climate change resilience in our communities to better prepare, adapt and reduce the future damages of global warming,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). “By ensuring that we are committed to working with our communities to address the future impacts of climate change, we are doing our part to conserve our land in the Commonwealth.”
“These grants will help protect and conserve more than 1,600 beautiful acres in Hampshire County, providing outdoor recreational opportunities and conserving critical habitat,” said State Senator Adam G. Hinds (D- Pittsfield). “I applaud the partnerships between the Franklin Land Trust, the Department of Fish and Game and the Town of Plainfield for their efforts to protect valuable open space around Brewer Brook Forest, Swift River and Meadow Brook and thank the Baker-Polito Administration for its support of these initiatives.”
“I am grateful to all of the public and private partners who worked together to preserve and protect these large tracts of land for future generations to enjoy,”said State Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington). “We are fortunate in western Massachusetts to have abundant natural resource areas that provide opportunities for wildlife and species habitats, recreation, and environmental protection and climate mitigation. I thank the Baker-Polito Administration for its commitment to this important program, and for making a smart investment in our rural region.”
–Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
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