NewsNotes #27 - February 21, 2008
Special Edition – Featuring Upcoming Grant and Award Opportunities
(NewsNotes will resume its normal format in the next edition.)
In this issue:
Grant and Award Opportunities
Last But Not Least
Resources and Grants
Grant and Award Opportunities
(presented in rough chronological order by application deadline)
The Beldon Fund‘s “vision for the future is a planet with healthy people living in healthy ecosystems…By supporting effective, nonprofit advocacy organizations, the Beldon Fund seeks to build a national consensus to achieve and sustain a healthy planet. The Fund plans to invest its entire principal and earnings by 2009 to attain this goal…After three decades of progress protecting our environment, we have reached a critical moment. With daunting environmental challenges still ahead, we face the prospect of losing momentum and the environmental gains we have already made. Now is the time to act.” The Fund’s web page features an innovative on-line “Eligibility Quiz” to help prospective applicants determine if there’s a good fit between their funding needs and the Fund’s areas of interest. These include: environmental health advocacy work that helps show the public the connection between toxic chemicals and health and substantially involves doctors, nurses, public health professionals, health-affected people, parents or teachers; and projects that support training and development of youth leaders in the environmental justice movement, such as youth organizing and leadership programs involving young people in civic engagement activities. Letters of inquiry are due February 27th, 2008.
Community and environmental organizations located in areas served by the Bay State Gas Company (see http://www.baystategas.com/about/svcarea.htm) are encouraged to apply for grants of between $500 and $5,000 (with special grants occasionally awarded up to $10,000) from the Environmental Challenge Fund (ECF – click here for press release). NiSource Inc., the parent company of Bay State, established the ECF in 1995 as a not-for-profit corporation to support local natural resource and wildlife improvement projects and related educational and recreational efforts. Grant guidelines and applications are available at the NiSource website. Grant applications will be accepted until Feb. 28, 2008 and announced on Earth Day 2008. For more info, contact Don DiNunno at firstname.lastname@example.org. [Go to the NiSource Charitable Foundation webpage for additional parent company grant info.]
Action for Nature’s 2008 ECO Hero Awards recognize the individual accomplishments of young people (ages 8-16) whose personal actions have significantly improved the environment. The organization will award cash prizes of up to $500 to young Eco-Heroes from the U.S. and around the world for their outstanding accomplishments in environmental advocacy, environmental health, research or protection of the natural world. Their individual initiatives will inspire others to preserve and protect our fragile environment. Kids may nominate themselves or be nominated by others. The application deadline is Thursday, February 28th; click here for more info.
The Home Depot Foundation is dedicated to creating healthy, livable communities through the preservation and restoration of community trees. By supporting the planting of community trees, the Foundation is working to increase awareness of the connection between adequate natural spaces and trees to the overall health and success of our communities. The Foundation believes that trees are an untapped resource that can be used to help cities deal with the pollution of our air and water, cool our city streets and homes, reduce crime, reduce asthma and improve our overall health. The Foundation also believes that the simple act of neighbors coming together to plant trees can be the catalyst for enormous community change. Click here for more info and here for application guidelines on Home Depot’s Healthy Community Trees Program. Letters of Intent are due on March 1st and Nov. 1st, 2008.
Landscape Preservation and archaeology are two of the categories eligible for a Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award. Local historical commissions, preservation advocates and professionals, and the general public are encouraged to nominate deserving projects. Click here to download an application form, or contact the Commission at (617) 727-8470 to receive a form by mail or for more info. Completed nominations must be received at the MHC by 5:00 PM on Monday, March 3rd, 2008.
The Essex National Heritage Commission (ENHC)’s Partnership Grant Program makes matching grants to projects within the Essex National Heritage Area (coterminous with Essex County, MA - see map) that foster collaboration between communities and organizations that share the ENHC's mission to preserve and promote the historical, cultural and natural resources in the region. Applications must be received at the ENHC office no later than 5:00 PM on Monday, March 3, 2008. Grants are made in four categories – click here to determine which category your project might fit into and which ENHC staff person to contact for additional info.
The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)’s U.S. Standard Grants Program supports public-private partnerships that further the goals of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). Funded projects must involve long-term protection, restoration, enhancement, or establishment of wetlands and associated uplands habitats for the benefit of all wetlands-associated migratory birds. Projects are generally funded between $75,001 and $1 million; at least a 50% local match is required. Contact the appropriate FWS joint venture coordinator before applying to discuss possible project ideas and parameters. In the meantime, click here for an overview and here for detailed info on the 2008 Eligibility and Grant Processes. The 2008 deadlines are Friday, March 7th and Friday, August 1st .
Students, activists, artists and everyone in between are invited to submit original three-minute digital videos focused on themes of sustainable living and natural landscapes of New England. Selected entries will be shown at the “Down2Earth” sustainable living conference in Boston from March 28th - 30th. The submission deadline is March 14th; click here or call (617) 266-6540 for more info.
The Project AWARE Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization committed to conserving and preserving the aquatic environment and its resources. Funding for the program comes directly from contributions made by divers and non-divers. Funded projects have a direct benefit to the aquatic environment through public education, grass roots conservation and enhancement projects, environmentally focused research leading to conservation measures, public awareness initiatives, environmental assessment and monitoring projects and volunteer-supported community activism. The Foundation does not fund legislative advocacy to influence policy; political campaigns, projects whose methods are not environmentally accepted, overhead expenses including salaries, stipends, benefits or tuition, capital expenses including computer hardware/software or office furnishings, travel and living expenses, dive equipment or instruction or products designed for resale. The board meets quarterly to review proposals; the next application deadline is March 15th, 2008 . Click here or e-mail email@example.com for more info.
The U.S. EPA is currently seeking grant proposals for its Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program: a unique, community-based, community-driven, multimedia demonstration program designed to help communities understand and reduce risks due to toxics and environmental pollutants from all sources. CARE 's long-term goal is to help communities build self-sustaining, community-based partnerships that will continue to improve human health and local environments into the future. EPA is expected to allocate a total of $3 million to fund two types of CARE cooperative agreements (Level I and Level II) with eligible entities (which include local governments and nonprofits). The application deadline is Monday, March 17th, 2008. Click here to view the RFP document (RFP # EPA- OAR -IO-08-02). The EPA will conduct a Q+A webcast on the CARE grants program Wednesday, February 27th from 10 AM to 12 noon.
The Mass. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) is now accepting applications for the 2008 Secretary Awards for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education. All K-l2 Massachusetts schools are eligible for cash awards for outstanding energy and environmental education programs. The application deadline is March 18th. Contact Meg Colclough for more info.
The National Association of Counties, in partnership with the NOAA Community-Based Restoration Program, is seeking proposals for Coastal Counties Restoration Initiative (CCRI) Grants. (Eligible counties in Mass. include Bristol, Plymouth, Norfolk and Barnstable.) In 2008, CCRI will provide $500,000 in grants to improve stream, river, estuarine, and other important marine habitats, with a priority of fish passage barriers in coastal streams and rivers. Applications are due March 24th. Click here or contact NACO at ( 202) 942-4246 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
The Captain Planet Foundation provides grants ranging from $250-$2,500 for projects that: promote understanding of environmental issues; focus on hands-on involvement; involve children and young adults 6-18 (elementary through high school); promote interaction and cooperation within the group; help young people develop planning and problem solving skills; include adult supervision and commit to follow-up communication with the Foundation (specific requirements are explained once the grant has been awarded). The next submission deadline is March 31st, 2008. Click here for more info. [Click here for info on Do Something’s Plum and other kid-oriented grants info.].
Each year, the Environmental Business Council of New England (EBC) recognizes companies, organizations and individuals for outstanding accomplishments in the promotion of a sustainable, clean environment through its EBEE Awards Celebration. These awards were established by the EBC to encourage environmental companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and environmental professionals to serve as models for others to emulate. The nomination deadline is Monday, March 31st. Click here for an on-line nominating form and here for more detail on the various EBC award categories. Call the EBC at (617) 725-0207 for more info.
Restoring Rivers: Stream Barrier Removal Grants, a program of American Rivers and NOAA’s Community-Based Restoration Program, will distribute up to $800,000 to support projects in several regions (including New England) to benefit diadromous fish species. Grants ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 will be awarded for three distinct project phases: feasibility analysis, engineering design, and construction. Proposals are due April 1st, 2008. Click here or contact Serena McClain at (202) 347-7550 ext. 3004 or email@example.com for more info.
Conceived in 1996 by the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation, the first-of-its-kind Massachusetts Catalogue for Philanthropy embodies a number of innovative elements: a donor-friendly taxonomy of charities (including a “Nature” category), organizing them for presentation to the public as an intelligible, sensible, navigable tool for finding philanthropic fields and specific charities one might enjoy supporting; the Giving Form, enabling "one-stop" year-end giving and facilitating gifts of stocks, a new conceptualization of philanthropy's role and significance in history, particularly in American history; a new vocabulary describing philanthropy in more precise, constructive, attractive, and even compelling, terms; an annual showcase or snapshot of the entire field in a given "market", displaying current work being accomplished or proposed in all fields, all across that market, focusing on the 92% of all charities with budgets below $2 million, that are normally therefore relatively invisible and unknown to the public, because they cannot afford junk mail, junk telephone calls, or media advertising, and are of only rare interest to the media. In short, the Catalogue helps promote grassroots and other smaller charities to potential donors. Organizations interested in being listed in the Catalogue can get more info on-line by clicking here ; the application deadline for 2008 is April 1st.
The Max and Anna Levinson Foundation supports nonprofit organizations that are committed to developing a more humane and rewarding society in which people have a greater ability and opportunity to determine directions for the future. Environment, one of the Foundation’s focus areas funds projects (generally in the $10-20,000 range, to organizations with an annual budget of less than $1 million) in the following areas: Protection of Ecosystems and Biological Diversity; Alternative Energy and Conversion from the Oil Economy; Alternative Agriculture and Local Green Economic Development; Breaking the Link Between Resource Extraction, Civil and International Conflict, and Markets; and the Development of Environmental Movements. The application deadline is April 1st, 2008. Click here for more info.
Acres for America, a partnership between Wal-Mart Stores and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, was established to provide funding for projects that conserve important habitat for fish, wildlife, and plants through acquisition of interests in real property. The goal of the Acres for America program is to offset the footprint of Wal-Mart’s domestic facilities on at least an acre-by-acre basis through these acquisitions. Preference will be given to acquisitions that are part of published conservation plans, State Wildlife Action Plans (see NewsNotes 24’s lead articleon this topic), or Endangered Species Act Recovery Plans. All grant awards require a minimum 1:1 match of cash or contributed goods and services. Pre-proposals for the next funding round must be submitted by the April 1st, 2008 deadline; full proposals are due June 1st, 2008. The online application process will be open March 1st, 2008. Click here or contact Peter Stangel at Peter.Stangel@nfwf.org for more info.
The Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust awards grants generally ranging from $25,000-$75,000 “to protect and enhance the natural and urban environment, and to conserve New England 's natural resources. The Trust is interested in supporting environmental projects which will have a positive impact on the protection of critical natural resources, energy conservation, public awareness of the critical environmental issues facing the region; and protection of the public's health, especially in low- income or minority communities”…The Trust's two-step application process begins with the submission of a concept paper, which should be no more than 3 or 4 typed pages in length, and should include a brief background statement about the applicant organization and its purposes, a description of how the proposed project will strengthen the ability of the organization to reach its own goals, an outline of the specific project to be supported, and the total amount desired… Concept papers may be submitted at any time, but must be received by January 15th, April 15th, July 15th or October 15th by 6:00 PM to be considered at the next regular meeting of the Trustees. Please submit concept papers to: Susan M. Fish, Grants Administrator, Select Client Services, Hemenway & Barnes, 60 State Street, Boston, MA 02109, (617) 227-7940 x775, firstname.lastname@example.org. Direct any questions to Gioia C. Perugini, Environment Program Officer, (617) 557-9777, email@example.com.
The U.S. EPA’s WaterSense Program has inaugurated a WaterSense Awards Program. The award is intended to recognize exemplary work in water efficiency by WaterSense Partners. [Becoming a WaterSense Partner is free and demonstrates your organization’s, business’s, community’s etc. support for water efficiency. Click here for more info on award eligibility, categories, evaluation criteria, etc. Nominations are due April 4th, 2008.
The Development, Community, and Environment Division of the EPA's Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation recently issued a request for applications for its Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program, through which a team of multidisciplinary experts will provide free technical assistance to communities, regions, or states that want to develop in ways that meet environmental and other local or regional goals. The EPA is soliciting applications from communities that want help with either policy analysis or public participatory processes. Selected communities will receive assistance in the form of a multi-day visit from a team of experts organized by EPA and other national partners to work with local leaders. Applications will be accepted until the deadline of May 8th, 2008. Click here for application materials or more info. Applications are also now being accepted for the 7th Annual National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. The deadline is April 7th, 2008; click here for more info.
The Conservation Alliance is a group of outdoor businesses that disburses its collective annual membership dues to grassroots environmental organizations for projects that protect specific wild places for their habitat and recreation values. The Alliance directs its funding to community-based campaigns to protect threatened wild habitat, preferably where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Since its founding in 1989, the Alliance has contributed more than $5.3 million to help organizations in their work to protect more than 35 million acres of land, stop or remove 26 dams, and preserve access to thousands of miles of rivers and several climbing areas. Before applying for funding, an organization must first be nominated by one of the Alliance’s member companies (click here for the list). Members nominate organizations by completing and submitting a nomination form. The Alliance will then send each nominated organization a request for proposal (RFP) instructing them how to submit a full request for funding. The Conservation Alliance conducts two funding cycles annually. Deadlines are: Summer Cycle: Nominations due May 1st; Proposals due June 10th; Winter Cycle: Nominations due Nov. 1st; Proposals due Dec. 10th. Grant requests should not exceed $35,000.
The Bank of America Foundation’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative recognizes, nurtures, and rewards community -based organizations, local heroes and student leaders working to improve their communities. Grants are awarded in BofA’s focus areas (which includes Greater Boston). Applications are accepted through June 27th, 2008. Click here for more info or here to fill out an eligibility quiz. BofA employees also contribute volunteer time to nonprofits, which the company matches with a cash donation of up to $500; click here for more info.
Operation Free Plant, a program of America the Beautiful Fund, distributes free seeds to community programs throughout the U.S. Donations of 100 to 1,000 seed packets are available to organizations working to improve their communities through gardening for a nominal shipping and handling fee. Community garden programs that benefit the hungry; youth education programs; beautification programs for parks, roadways, and neighborhoods; and promotion of environmental stewardship are just a few of the uses for which organizations can apply. America the Beautiful accepts applications on a rolling basis and fulfills requests as seeds are available based on organizations’ relative need. Click here or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 638-2175 for more info.
The Tamarind Foundation seeks to raise public awareness and advance innovative solutions to environmental and public health problems. It works with academic institutions, government agencies, media, consumer and grassroots groups to advance public policies that can help lead to a livable future. Among the environmental programs the Foundation supports are those that protect fresh water sources, promote conservation and energy efficiency and public education and research in biodiversity and conservation. Although the Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, one indication of the type of projects it supports is the well-recommended “Water: H 2 0 = Life” exhibit, currently (until May 26th) on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Write to email@example.com for more info.
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Mass. DEP’s Wetlands Circuit Rider Program presents an ongoing series of workshops relating to understanding various provisions of the Mass. Wetlands Protection Act, regulations and guidance. An upcoming workshop, entitled Regulatory Revisions to Stormwater Management under the Wetlands Protection Act will be held on Thursday, February 21st, 2008 at 7:00 PM at the Palmer Town Hall, 4417 Main Street, Palmer, MA, and on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 7:00 PM at the Lenox Town Hall, 6 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. [Click here to read a recent article on this topic.] While these events are free and open to the public, you may want to contact the respective Circuit Rider’s office first to make sure there’s space available in the workshop(s) you’re interested in.
The Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, a new advocacy group formed “to restore and protect the rivers, streams, waters and watersheds of Massachusetts, and the ecosystems they support”, will be hosting a Brown-Bag Lunch Meeting to develop priorities for the new organization on Thursday, February 28th, 2008, from 10:00 AM to around 2:00 PM, at the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters building in Sudbury (click here for directions). Please RSVP to Deirdre Menoyo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Amherst, MA-based Rushing Rivers Institute is resuming its series of courses on the MesoHABSIM fish habitat assessment methodology beginning in March 2008. Click here or write to email@example.com for more info.
The largest regular environmental conference in New England , this year’s Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC) Annual Environmental Conference will be held on Saturday, March 1st, 2008 at the Hogan Campus Center , Holy Cross College in Worcester. The event is attended by over one thousand Conservation Commissioners, other local officials, state and federal environmental officials, consultants, attorneys, environmental activists and others. The Conference offers over 40 workshop and training sessions, all taught by recognized experts, along with over 40 exhibits and displays. Click here for workshop descriptions and here for a registration form.
The Mystic River Watershed includes many towns, interest groups, land uses and it has many water quality problems. Its diversity enriches the watershed and provides a complex challenge to transform problems and uses into a manageable restoration program. The EPA is hosting a Mystic River Summit, a gathering of key watershed stakeholders, to generate ideas, on Tuesday, March 4th, 2008 to develop goals, map a strategy, and most of all, form a group to work together to restore this great river. Click here or write firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
An EPA-sponsored workshop entitled Innovative Energy Management: How to Reduce Energy Use & Increase Savings for Water & Wastewater Treatment Plants in New England will take place on March 6th, 2008 from 8:30AM to 4:00PM at the Wannalancit Building , UMass/Lowell, 600 Suffolk Street in Lowell . Each workshop participant will receive a copy of the EPA’s new Energy Management Systems Workbook. The workshop cost is a very reasonable $28 but space is limited (priority is given to treatment plant representatives); register by Feb. 25th. Click here for more info, or contact Madeline Snow at (978) 934-4875 or Madeline_snow@uml.edu. [See also EPA’s recently updated Energy and Water web page, a Water, Energy and Climate Change archived webcast, and a press release and April 8th presentation on Mass DEP’s pilot program to reduce energy use at water and wastewater treatment plants.]
The Ecological Landscaping Association (ELA) will be hosting its 14th Annual Conference & Eco-Marketplace on March 7th - 8th, 2008 , at Mass. Mutual in Springfield . This premier event includes 25 workshops presented by preeminent educators, writers, and practitioners in the field of ecological landscaping. With over 40 exhibitors and live demonstrations, the Eco-Marketplace showcases landscape techniques, information, products, and services needed to create and manage healthy communities. In addition, each day features an optional meal with keynote speaker: Charles C. Mann , author Sustainable Soils, Sustainable Landscapes: An Historical Perspective (on 3/6); John Todd, author and co-founder of New Alchemy Institute, Ocean Arks International, and Living Technologies Inc. (on 3/7) and Tom Wessels, author and educator at Antioch University New England (on 3/8). The conference is preceded on 3/6 by an ELA-sponsored full-day Permaculture Intensive Workshop with David Jacke, Dynamics Ecological Design, and Jono Neiger, Regenerative Design.
The 2nd Connecticut Conference on Natural Resources (CCNR), scheduled for Monday, March 10th, 2008 at UConn's Storrs campus, is a multidisciplinary conference bringing together individuals working with natural resource and environmental management in Connecticut to share research, information, and ideas. The conference is for all those working with the environment and natural resources through state and federal government, academia, non-governmental organizations, and the engaged public who belong to and/or volunteer with non-governmental organizations, place-based conservation organizations, and local government committees. Click here for more info on speakers and workshops, at least several of which are relevant to river issues in Mass.
A majority of homes in the Northeast are not connected to sewers and may never need this service given the revolution in onsite wastewater treatment. National testing protocols on the newest onsite technology are showing that nitrogen can be reduced to levels that virtually meet drinking water standards. New management programs to support these more advanced systems are also being developed. So that all environmental professionals in New England can participate in this rapidly changing industry, the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC), in cooperation with Connecticut Environmental Health Association (CEHA) and other leaders in the field in the Northeast, is hosting the Third Northeast Onsite Wastewater Treatment Short Course and Equipment Exhibition, to be held March 11th– 13th, 2008, at the Mystic Marriott Hotel and Spa in Groton, CT. Click here to download the conference flyer. Contact NEIWPCC’s John Murphy at (978) 323-7929 ext. 255 for more info. [Click here for an archived webcast on decentralized systems; click here for info on NEIWPCC’s annual Nonpoint Source Pollution Conference, to be held at the same location from May 19th-21st].
The Toxics Action Center is hosting Environmental Action 2008: Mobilizing the Grassroots for a Greener New England, on Saturday, March 15th from 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM , at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston . Click here for more info and here to register, or call ( 617) 292-4821 .
The Mass. Citizen Planner Training Collaborative’s 2008 Annual Conference will take place at Holy Cross College ’s Hogan Campus Center on Saturday, March 15, 2008. Cost is $50/person. Sessions include zoning reform, source water protection and planning for working landscapes. Keynote address will be by State Senator Pamela Resor. Click here for Conference brochure or contact Michael DiPasquale at (413) 545-2188 for more info.
The Rhode Island Land and Water Partnership is hosting its 2008 Land and Water Conservation Summit on Saturday, March 15th, 2008 from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM at the URI Memorial Union, Kingston Campus. Workshop topics include: Paddling RI ’s Blueway; Protecting Stream Flows; Economic Development and the Restoration of Urban Rivers; Fundraising: Building Your Organization’s Membership; and Developing a Water Quality Monitoring Program – Create a River Report Card. Contact Meg Kerr at email@example.com or (401) 714-2313 for more info.
The annual Maine Water Conference will be taking place on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008 at the Augusta Civic Center from 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM . Session topics include public water supply protection, performance of LID BMPs in a cold climate, and water lewel and flow regulation implementation. Click here to register or for more info. [The NH Water Conference is on April 16th, 2008 – click here for more info.]
The Massachusetts Watershed Coalition is hosting a Sustainable Watersheds Workshop on Thursday, March 20th 2008, from 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM at the Doyle Conservation Center in Leominster . This free program will examine green designs and open space plans that can sustain the health of local watersheds. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is requested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (978) 534-0379 to register or for more info.
The Trustees of Reservations’ Putnam Conservation Institute and the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition are hosting the 18th Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference at Worcester Technical High School (note new location) on Saturday, March 29th from 8AM to 4:30 PM .. Learn the nuts and bolts of what it takes to conserve land for everyone, forever. Join novice and long-time conservationists for a wide array of workshops on the legal, financial, political, and social realities of land conservation. Click here to download the Conference brochure and registration form.
The Massachusetts Water Resources Research Center and UMass Extension will be hosting the 5th Annual Conference on Water Resources: Integrating Water Resources Management for a Secure Water Future on Tuesday, April 8th, 2008 at the Lincoln Campus Center, UMass/Amherst. This year’s conference will highlight integrated water resources management, from cutting-edge research on the assessment and remediation of impaired water resources, to policy for water use, reuse, conservation, and balance. The goals of this conference are to provide an interdisciplinary forum for scientists, practitioners, and policy makers to discuss current critical water research; foster greater collaboration among scientists and practitioners; and strengthen the connection between research, extension, and policy. EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Ira Leighton will be keynote speaker and address exciting new developments in stormwater policy and remediation. Click here to register or contact Françoise Walk at (413) 545-5531 for more info.
The Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) is hosting several events the last weekend in April. CRWA’s 9th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, April 26th, 2008 from 9:00AM to 12:00 noon at sites all along the Charles. The CRWA is seeking participants; click here to sign up or for more info. CRWA’s 26th “Run of the Charles” Canoe and Kayak Race will take place on Sunday, April 27th, 2008; click here to sign up or for more info, or just show up later in the day at Herter Park in Brighton for the Finish Line Festival. Also on Sunday (from 1-4 PM), the CRWA will be hosting a River Science Festival, also at Herter Park. Come experience a variety of hands-on, child-safe science experiments that will bring environmental science to life for youth and families on shore and on the river. Join throngs of excited paddlers and spectators for festivities, food, entertainment and fascinating science activities geared to children of all ages. Activities include an eco-boat trip, model watershed, and exhibitions about all aspects of the river. Contact Rebecca Scibek at (781) 788-0007 ext. 200 or email@example.com for more info on any of these events.
Conservation planning advocate Randall Arendt will present a free public lecture entitled Conservation by Design: A Practical Strategy for Preserving Town-wide Open Space Networks, on Monday, April 28th, 2008 at 7:00 PM at the Conway Town Hall, 5 Academy Hill Road, Conway, MA . Mr. Arendt is the author or co-author of more than 20 publications, including the award-winning Dealing with Change in the Connecticut River Valley: A Design Manual for Conservation and Development (now in its fourth printing). Arendt is the former Director of Planning and Research at UMass/Amherst’s Center for Rural Massachusetts, where he also served as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning. The event is co-sponsored by the Conway School of Landscape Design and the Highlands Communities Initiative of the Trustees of Reservations. Call (413) 369-4044 for more info.
River Network is hosting its annual national gathering, River Rally 2008, from Friday, May 2nd to Monday, May 5th at the Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, OH. The Rally is intended to help river enthusiasts, grassroots groups, governments at all levels and others harness the power of citizen involvement to protect rivers and build healthier communities and watersheds. “The River Rally will bring together hundreds of friends of rivers, water keepers, monitors, watchdogs, stewards, guardians and others involved in watershed protection and restoration. Together, we will celebrate rivers, teach and learn from each other, and explore the power of citizen action.” Click here to download the Rally brochure or here to go to the Rally webpage.
The River Management Society (RMS) is hosting its 9th Biennial Symposium, Branching out from the Mainestream, from Monday, May 12th to Thursday, May 15th at the Eastland Park Hotel in Portland, ME. Session topics include dam removal, urban rivers, river restoration techniques and case studies of successful partnerships. Sandra Postel is one of the featured speakers. A bunch of river and watershed-related field trips have also been organized. Click here for an on-line registration form, or contact Caroline Kurz at RMS at (406) 549-0514 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
The American Water Resources Association (AWRA) is hosting a conference entitled Riparian Ecosystems and Buffers: Working at the Water's Edge, which will be held at the Founder's Inn and Spa in Virginia Beach, VA from June 30th- July 2nd, 2008. The conference will focus on emerging science and new studies on: the structure, function, and management of riparian ecosystems, conservation buffers, and coastal shorelines, including water quality, aquatic habitat, and terrestrial habitat, while focusing on new techniques in landscape prioritization and targeting, measuring and monitoring effectiveness, and the application of riparian buffer practices and restoration approaches in urban, agricultural, prairie, and forest landscapes (click here for a listing of probable workshop topics). [See also AWRA’s 2008 Awards Nominations, which are due on May 8th.]
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The U.S. EPA’s recently-released report, Reducing Stormwater Costs through Low Impact Development (LID) Strategies and Practices, contains 17 case studies from across North America that demonstrate the economic viability of LID practices: innovative stormwater management practices to manage urban stormwater runoff at its source. The goal is to mimic the way water moved through an area before it was developed by using design techniques that infiltrate, evapotranspirate, and reuse runoff close to its source. Some common LID practices include rain gardens, grassed swales, cisterns, rain barrels, permeable pavements and green roofs. The report highlights examples that, in most cases, LID practices reduce project costs while improving environmental performance.
Along similar lines: the EPA has also recently created a web-based tool to provide stormwater professionals with easy access to approximately 220 studies assessing the performance ofmore than 275 stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs). The Urban BMP Performance Tool provides access to studies covering a variety of traditional and low-impact BMP types, including retention and detention ponds, biofilters, grassed filter strips, porous pavement, wetlands, and others. [Click here for info on the EPA’s upcoming and archived presentations in its series of Stormwater Webcasts.]
The new Green Infrastructure Action Strategy, developed by the EPA and other Partners for Green Infrastructure (American Rivers, Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators, Low Impact Development Center, National Association of Clean Water Agencies and the Natural Resources Defense Council) details a wide variety of efforts that will be pursued over the years by the partner organizations to reduce stormwater runoff, combined sewer overflows, and nonpoint source pollution. The document, Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure – 2008 Action Strategy, covers seven broad categories, including research, outreach, demonstration projects, and more. [Click here and here for other water/wastewater infrastructure info.]
The National Park Service (NPS) recently released Art & Community Landscapes, its first report on a series of public art projects that engage communities and national park visitors in addressing their personal relationship to the environment. The majority of the projects were supported by a multi-year partnership between the New England Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA). “What really unifies these 18 remarkable projects—12 in communities and 6 in NPS units—is the desire for a deeper engagement with the environment: through site-specific art, the artists invited, inspired and sometimes challenged communities and individuals to reevaluate how they relate to their environment,” said Charles Tracy, NPS lead for Art & Community Landscapes. “The artists and their work have influenced the stories these communities tell about themselves and the places which are important to them.” Click here to download the (8MB .pdf) report.
The NPS RTCA’s “Northeast Update” electronic newsletter for January 2008 features advice on how to design, build and maintain sustainable trails and trail systems. The Mass. DCR’s Greenways and Trails Program’s “Greenway Connections” e-newsletter for January-February 2008 covers a similar topic.
Many of the PowerPoints presented at the 2007 Massachusetts Smart Growth/Smart Energy Conference, held last December at the DCU Center in Worcester, have been converted to .pdf files and are now posted on line. Click here to see them. Massachusetts’ on-line Smart Growth/Smart Energy Toolkit now has informative modules, case studies and links on several water and river-related topics, including water resource management, wastewater alternatives and mill revitalization districts.
The River Restoration Monitoring Committee of the Gulf of Maine Council has published the Stream Barrier Removal Monitoring Guide, which presents a standardized framework for monitoring the ecological changes that occur when dams, culverts, and other stream barriers are removed. Developed collaboratively by more than 70 people from government agencies and non-governmental organizations, the framework is based on eight critical monitoring parameters. The Monitoring Guide presents an overview of the scientific context of stream barrier removal and provides methods for monitoring critical parameters. Click here to download or for related info.
Massachusetts has over 3,000 dams. While some of these dams provide important benefits such as water supply and flood control, many other dams are obsolete and/or dilapidated relics of our industrial past. Last fall, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts released two documents to facilitate efforts to remove dams and restore free-flowing riverine habitats and landscapes. In his introductory letter to Dam Removal in Massachusetts: A Basic Guide for Project Proponents, put out by the Mass. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) last December, EEA Secretary Ian Bowles writes: “Dams that have served their life and are no longer functional need to be removed. That removal can be a win for everyone. It can restore rivers and streams to the vibrant, robust, complex habitats they once were; help revive fisheries that, because of dams, have been cut off from their historical spawning grounds; eliminate public safety hazards; and relieve owners of unwanted liability. This guidance document will help dam removal proponents maneuver through the initial conceptualization of the project, the feasibility studies, the permitting process and the funding avenues with greater ease and clarity.” Click here to download Dam Removal in Massachusetts (it’s a 5.29MB .pdf file); click here to find out about and access many other Mass. water-related publications available on-line via EEA. [On a related note: American Rivers recently set up a web page on the safety hazards posed by structurally-deficient dams and how many owners of such dams are choosing dam removal as a permanent solution. ]
The second document intended to facilitate dam removal that came out last fall was put out by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and is entitled Dam Removal and the Wetlands Regulations. This guidance articulates DEP policy intended to encourage dam removal projects and highlight the benefits they provide such as the restoration of natural riverine systems and associated aquatic habitat and floodplain systems. The document should assist Conservation Commissions and DEP, as the permitting authorities, in the application of the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act to encourage environmental improvements to rivers and streams anticipated to result from dam removal. Click here to download Dam Removal and the Wetlands Regulations; click here to find out about and access other wetlands-related guidance documents available on-line via DEP. (Current and former Riverways staff played a significant role in shaping both these dam removal documents.)
The Winter ’07-08 edition of EnviroMatters, Mass. DEP’s on-line newsletter, includes stories on: an innovative pilot program to reduce energy use at water and wastewater treatment plants; permit streamlining initiatives, including facilitating the issuance of groundwater discharge of treated wastewater (which could help replenish aquifers and streamflow); and info on recent grants awarded for water conservation, source water protection and non-point source pollution reduction. Click here to subscribe and/or to read the current or archived newsletters. [Click here to go to DEP’s Brownfields Funding web page.]
The Fall 2007 edition of The Stormy Report, the official newsletter of the Think Blue Massachusetts stormwater campaign, seeking to enlist citizens to do their part to curtail pollution entering coastal waterways, details “Stormy” (Think Blue’s 15’ inflatable duck mascot)’s summer 2007 tour and provides information about the Think Blue Toolbox, an online source of tools and guidance to assist partners in implementing their own Think Blue projects. To receive The Stormy Report every three months, email email@example.com.
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Non-government On-line Resources
Alliance for Water Efficiency (A4WE)
A4WE is a recently established, stakeholder-based §501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization dedicated to the efficient and sustainable use of water. Located in Chicago, the Alliance serves as a North American advocate for water efficient products and programs, and provides information and assistance on water conservation efforts. Resources on the A4WE website include water efficiency-related news stories, codes and standards and events, and editions of the Water Efficiency Watch electronic newsletter (click here for the December 2007 issue).
American Art Parades
This website documents a phenomenon which began in the summer of 1999 with “Cows on Parade™ in Chicago ”, a whimsical exhibition featuring over 300 life-sized fiberglass cows, hand-painted by local artists, which were found grazing in the parks and lounging on sidewalks throughout the city of Chicago . Eventually, these beautiful bovines were rounded up and auctioned off for charity, triggering a coast-to-coast craze (see, e.g., photos from “Sheeptacular”, held several years ago in Pittsfield , MA) that would soon become known as “American Art Parades.” What makes these public art projects unique, in addition to the amazing, original art they produce, was the way they bring communities together. Cities, businesses, artists and philanthropic organizations forged alliances and developed a new paradigm for partnerships, with art at its very core. The American Art Parade website features a book, a nationwide directory and other info on how these public art exhibitions sparked new interest in cultural tourism and downtown redevelopment, not to mention creating an awareness of important cultural issues, all while raising millions of dollars for worthy art, educational, environmental, animal, social and health organizations.
Published by CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, a SF Bay Area provider of consulting, research, and training, Board Café is an electronic newsletter exclusively for members of nonprofit boards of directors. Short enough to read over a cup of coffee, Board Café offers a menu of ideas, information, opinion, news, and resources to help board members give and get the most out of board service. Each issue brings a cornucopia of "Little Ideas," as well as one "Big Idea" you can use in your board work. Subscribe online and receive your copy the second week of each month via e-mail. [Click here to peruse over seventy archived editions of Board Café newsletters, organized by topic.]
The Case Foundation seeks to improve the health and well-being of communities through expanding civic engagement and volunteerism. Resources at this site include articles on fundraising and giving trends and advice, such as “Top Five Ways to Raise Money On-line”, the book Citizens at the Center: A New Approach to Civic Engagement and other civic engagement resources, an interview with the founder of Good Magazine, and info on the Foundation-supported America’s Giving Challenge and “Make it your own” grants programs.
Organized by several environmental organizations (the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Ecology Center) in time for last year’s holiday season, CatalogChoice.org allows people to remove themselves from more than 1,000 mailing lists. (There is no charge for this service.) Since it opened for business on Oct. 9th, Catalog Choice has helped more than 165,000 people opt out of almost 1.7 million catalogs. While the site's users may be primarily interested in avoiding unwanted mail, the environmental groups are more concerned with reducing the number of catalogs sent to Americans every year (19 billion) and the number of trees used to make them (53 million).
Center for Watershed Protection
More than half of the stream network in the contiguous U.S. is comprised of small headwaters that provide a host of ecological benefits. The link above will take you to CWP’s Wetlands and Watersheds Article Series, where you can read the most recently-posted Article (#6) entitled The Importance of Protecting Vulnerable Streams and Wetlands at the Local Level. The article makes the case for expanded local protection of vulnerable streams and wetlands that may not be fully protected by state or federal law due to their perceived isolation from perennial or navigable waters. This article summarizes state and local approaches to closing this gap. [Click here to access the latest edition of CWP ’s Runoff Rundown electronic newsletter; click here for info on CWP ‘s Urban Subwatershed Restoration Manual Series, some of which are available for free download.]
Coalition for the Environmental Bond
This website has been established to coordinate support for and provide up-to-date information on the 2008 Environmental Bond Bill, filed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick on December 21st of last year. This website includes a FAQ page on the Bond, a list of current organizations endorsing the Bond, and an opportunity to add your organization, business or commission’s name to the list of Bond supporters. Click here or contact Jeremy Marin at (617) 947-2409 or Jeremy@MarinStrategies.com for more info.
Many of the products and services we use in industrialized societies today are disposable, hazardous, and often, unnecessary. Yet our capitalist economy depends on our consumption of such products and services, and we are told that it's “un-American” to question our role in this arrangement. The mission of Boston-based Conscious Consuming is to increase awareness of the impact of buying decisions on our health, happiness, and environment. Resources at this web page include an annotated list of voluntary simplicity websites and a blog.
Established by The Trustees of Reservations’ Putnam Conservation Institute, ConservationCommon was created in response to the enormous challenges confronting the conservation community in Massachusetts . If you join ConservationCommon, you join a community of professionals and volunteers seeking to change the face of conservation in Massachusetts . (Joining is free and takes only a few minutes). As a member, you can share success stories, get advice from colleagues, and learn from others’ experiences through discussions, white papers, and more. “Together, we can make a difference in preserving and protecting the special places and quality of life in Massachusetts ”. Resources at this website include: a Library of conservation-related documents, web pages and more, discussion forums on land conservation and related topics; a calendar of upcoming events; and links to member organizations and government offices. Contact Andrea Freeman at (978) 840-4446 ext.1929 for more info.
Recently set up by the Hydropower Reform Coalition, the DamEffects.org website presents a nifty animated depiction, augmented by well-written narrative explanations, of the functions and values of free-flowing river systems, riverine organisms and habitats and how they may be adversely affected by conventional dam-dependent hydropower operations. The site displays the difference between so-called “bad” hydro and “good” hydro, noting, though, that while adverse impacts can be mitigated (lessened in severity) to some degree, they can't be eliminated: “a dammed river will never function the same as a free-flowing river”.
Once you set up a free account (which takes only a few seconds), this website enables you to send out an unlimited number of up-to-20 question surveys and receive reports on up to 50 responses. A reasonably-priced upgrade ($20/month; $10 for students) enables you to receive reports on up to 1,000 responses with no limits on the number of survey questions you ask and the ability to cross-tabulate responses and incorporate HTML code into the questionnaire design.
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Massachusetts “Chapter 61” laws reduce property taxes on forest (Ch. 61), farmland (Ch. 61A) or recreational open space (Ch. 61B) in exchange for a commitment from the landowner to keep the land undeveloped for a specified time period. While Chapter 61 status does not in itself permanently protect land, it maintains open space and is often a first step towards more permanent conservation. Conservation and Land Use Planning under Massachusetts Chapter 61 Laws, a 52-page handbook recently put out by the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, summarizes the various Chapter 61 classifications and outlines steps to evaluate and exercise right-of-first-refusal opportunities when properties are threatened with development. The handbook, written by legal intern Stacey Francese and Partnership Coordinator Jay Rasku, also incorporates recent amendments to the Chapter 61 laws that went into effect last year. Click here to download a copy. Hard copies of this document will eventually be available; call (978) 248-2043 for more info.
The Blackstone River Coalition (BRC), a partnership of numerous organizations working to restore the Blackstone River and improve the health of its watershed (click here to read the BRC ’s latest newsletter) just came out with a user-friendly, 19-page document entitled A Homeowner’s Guide to Protecting Water Quality in the Blackstone River Watershed. The guide explains how citizens can do their part to reduce pollution by acting responsibly in the way they maintain their lawns and landscapes, wash their cars, pick up after their pets, etc. The Homeowner’s Guide is available on-line; click here to download a copy (it’s a 3MB, .pdf file). The Coalition also recently produced two related 4-page guides, specifically targeted to small farmers and horse owners. A limited number of hard copies of all of these documents are also available; contact the Coalition’s Coordinator, Peter Coffin at (508) 753-6087 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
The U.S. EPA’s popular Nonpoint Source Outreach Toolbox has recently been released in CD/ DVD format to help in situations where your computer is not hooked up to the Internet or your connection is too slow. With nearly 700 MB of multimedia files, this is a slightly scaled-down version of all the resources available in the on-line edition. (All TV, radio and print ads are available, but no “other products”.) Its product number is “publication # 841-C-05-003”. The 2003 classic, “Getting in Step: A DVD Guide for Conducting Watershed Outreach Campaigns”, a 35-minute program, including chapter menu and closed captioning, is also now out in DVD format (as publication # 841-C-07-001). Both of these resources are available for free through the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP) by calling (toll-free) (800) 490-9198 or via e-mail.
Imagine a future in which gardens, greenhouses and groves of trees replace sewage outfall pipes and leachfields. Sewage will grow ecological tree plantations that provide fuel, fiber, construction materials, wildlife habitat and beautiful landscapes. A pig farm's wastewater will fertilize a tree farm instead of polluting a river. A house's wastewater will irrigate and fertilize its surrounding landscape. A planted roof will collect and filter rainwater for use in the house. The beauty of these scenarios is that they save money, protect public and environmental health, and turn what was a disposal challenge into an amenity and a resource. That future is here. Reusing the Resource: Adventures in Ecological Wastewater Recycling, co-authored by Massachusetts-based eco-designers David Del Porto and Carol Steinfeld, profiles more than 30 successful ecological wastewater recycling systems that use plants to stabilize, clean, filter and use up wastewater or discharge it to be used again to flush toilets, nourish plants, etc. Reusing the Resource [124 pp. $24.95] can be ordered by clicking here or by calling (978) 318-7033 .
The recently-published book, Forces For Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits, the result of several years of research focusing on twelve nonprofits (including Environmental Defense) by authors Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant, identified six techniques common to effective nonprofits: offering advocacy efforts and service; harnessing market forces and leveraging the power and resources of business; engaging individuals from outside the organization; working with and through other organizations; learning to adapt; and sharing leadership by empowering others. Forces For Good (336 pp.; $29.95) can be purchased by clicking here; you can also click here for a meaty book review and here to read an excellent on-line synopsis of the book by the book’s authors.
Seen but Not Heard: Strengthening Nonprofit Advocacy, recently published by the Aspen Institute, provides new research findings about the extent of nonprofit advocacy while also detailing the barriers and incentives for nonprofits seeking to engage in various types of policy activities, including lobbying. Based in large part upon the findings of OMB Watch’s Strengthening Nonprofit Advocacy Project, the book suggests that nonprofits should not only engage in advocacy, but do more of it on a consistent basis. The book concludes that increased and consistent participation by nonprofits in policy matters provides a much-needed balance to for-profit lobbying and “immeasurably improves the quality of decisions that government makes”. Seen But Not Heard ($15) can be purchased on-line, by calling (410) 820-5433 , or via e-mail to email@example.com. [Click here for a review of the book.]
Take Me Fishing: 50 Great Writers on their Favorite Sport features great angling writing from the best writers in the business. With proceeds going to the FishAmerica Foundation, to help keep waters and fish healthy, and the Future Fisherman Foundation for education programs for children, these articles include Joan Wulff’s look at the stages in an angler’s lifetime; John McPhee’s passage on our country’s “Founding Fish”– the American Shad; Dave Barry's not-so-reverent take on fishing; Dave DiBenedetto on migrating stripers; Monte Burke on record bass; President Jimmy Carter on his youth; and Ted Williams on the environment. Click here to order or for more info.
The Westfield River Watershed Association (WRWA) and Highland Communities Initiative (HCI) sponsored the creation of “The Watershed Waltz”, a puppet show for inquisitive children and their families. Join Marmalade Productions and singer songwriter JoAnne Spies as they delve into the Watershed and celebrate the river's mysteries with song, puppet, fish, birds and aquatic creatures. Schools can offset part of the cost by participating in a water conservation program. A portion of the show’s cost can then be paid in “gallons of water saved”. For more info or to book a performance for your school (anywhere in Massachusetts), contact Meredyth Babcock at (413) 623-2070 or firstname.lastname@example.org. (A trailer for the show can be viewed at the Westfield River Watershed Association’s website.)
Last But Not Least
Does your car have an environmental license plate?
The Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET, http://massenvironmentaltrust.org) provides funding to many river and other water resources protection and restoration projects throughout the Commonwealth. A major source of MET’s funding comes from the sale of environmental license plates. Besides the “whale” plate (often accompanied in print ads by “Bob”, MET’s new marketing icon), sale of the “FW” (“fish and wildlife”) and “BV” (“Blackstone Valley”) plates also help fund MET’s grant-making programs. (By the way, these three are the only Mass. specialty license plates that exclusively fund environmental programs). Getting an environmental plate is easy and can be done on-line at http://www.mass.gov/rmv or at your local Registry of Motor Vehicles office.
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