June, 2015 
An electronic newsletter from the Mass. Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration (DER)


Welcome Letter

Feature Article

DER News and Project Updates

Grant, Prize, Contest, Fellowship, Award and Fundraising Opportunities


On-line Resources

Non-Governmental On-line Resources

Publications, etc.

Last but not Least

Greetings, restoration friends and colleagues:   

The big news at the Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) is that after 27 years of dedicated service, Russ Cohen is retiring July 1st. Fittingly, the feature article for this edition is about Russ, and it includes recollections from several of his conservation colleagues and friends. We are going to miss him.

In other news: DER is proud to co-receive the Environmental Business Council’s, Nicholas Humber Environmental-Energy Award for Outstanding Collaboration. The award is in recognition of “the outstanding public-private-nonprofit partnership leading to the execution of a vision for environmental restoration.”  While we are proud to receive this award, most of the credit goes to the Town of Plymouth, and in particular Town employee David Gould, for his tireless work to restore Town Brook (see the DER News and Project Updates section below for more information on this project).

Finally: thanks to all the watershed associations, paddling clubs, municipalities and others for organizing so many river and wetland-events that took place during Rivers and Wetlands Months this year.  Thanks to their efforts, we were able to include over 270 events in the 2015 Massachusetts Rivers and Wetlands Months Calendar.  The Calendar covers events through July 5, so, there’s still time to participate in an event – click here for more info. 

See you on the water --


Tim's Signature

Tim Purinton, Director  

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Restoration in the News

Feature Article:

A Tribute to Russ Cohen

By Tim Purinton, Director

Russ marching in the Musketaquid Parade in Concord
Russ marching in the Musketaquid Parade, the annual community celebration of rivers in Concord. Photo by David Griffin.

Russ Cohen is retiring. For nearly three decades, Russ has been the voice and steward of Massachusetts rivers, from the Bash Bish to the Blackstone Rivers. Russ is often praised for his work to help pass the Rivers Protection Act in the late 1900s, but I believe his greatest strength is his day-to-day advocacy on the small issues; the persistent, ubiquitous problems that impact our rivers, streams and brooks.  No issue is too small for Russ to throw his full weight and considerable intelligence behind. We will miss his lunch-pail approach, his belief that all rivers are worth investing in, and his encyclopedic watershed-knowledge. 

Russ’ awards and honors include:

  • Save the Bay, Environmental Achievement Award, 1993
  • Mass. Association of Conservation Commissions, Environmental Service Award, 1997
  • Environmental League of Massachusetts, Public Servant of the Year Award,1997
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Merit Award, 2003
  • Essex National Heritage Commission, "Heritage Hero" Award, 2006
  • Association of Massachusetts Wetland Scientists, Lifetime Achievement Award,2011
  • League of Women Voters and Sudbury-Assabet-Concord River Stewardship Council, River Steward Lifetime Achievement, 2012
  • New England Wild Flower Society, Education Award, 2013

Russ has many fans; here are a few reflections of Russ from people he worked with over the years:

“Russ has a combination of passion for the landscape, professional skill, patience with detail and seemingly indefatigable persistence.  All of these were essential during those early days when, under Walter Bickford’s visionary leadership as Commissioner and Bob Durand’s progressive and principled guidance as Secretary, we were attempting to bring a multi-dimensional approach to protecting the rivers of the Commonwealth.  We were combining community engagement with an alignment of both policy initiatives and legislative action to provide the legal basis for improved river health and protection. 

Russ’ determined work on the River Protection Act led to one of the great accomplishments of that era of environmental work in the Commonwealth.” 

Judy Wagner, Former Riverways Program Director

“When I joined Riverways in 1990, Russ was the Blackstone River Coordinator. From knowing the river and the people who called the watershed their home, Russ accumulated an astonishing knowledge base that has been used by many over the years.

Soon afterwards, under the sponsorship of then Representative and later Senator, Bob Durand, he began drafting the Massachusetts River Protection Act with Craig MacDonnell and with support from Maria Van Dusen. What joy when it passed! It was a significant and precedent-setting accomplishment for our rivers and streams.

Russ became Riverways’ Rivers Advocate and helped people across the state with issues large and small. He has a huge network of colleagues from conservation organizations, watershed associations, and town boards. Russ is generous with his knowledge, problem-solving approach, and ability to connect people across the state.

Russ is a friend and colleague and people will miss his friendly voice on the phone, his always-ready assistance and his love of rivers.” 

Joan Kimball, Former Riverways Program Director 

“Russ has a long-nourished and deep understanding of the importance of the ecological integrity of all natural systems. In our work at Riverways to protect the rivers and streams of the Commonwealth and their watersheds, this became a guiding principle which was a touchstone for helping us make good decisions. In the office and in the field, Russ was apt at encouraging conversations that led to solutions and actions appropriate to safeguarding ecosystems. His knowledge, articulateness, and perseverance gained high respect among state and town officials as well as business and environmental groups, legislators and landowners. He was a gentle leader in developing the statewide river advocacy that led to changes in regulations and the passage of the Rivers Protection Act.  He is truly a River Advocate.”

Maria Van Dusen, Former Riverways Program Director

“What to say about Russ Cohen! He touched hundreds of people with his work. He is the ideal public servant; he is smart, smooth, and effective. Russ is responsible for saving habitat throughout Massachusetts, not just through his river work but through his advocacy for protecting native plants. We are going to miss him.”

 Deirdre Menoyo, Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, New England Wild Flower Society and Sudbury Valley Trustees Board of Directors

“Russ will be deeply missed. Unlike most, Russ ventures out, on the clock and off, to work directly with the Non-Governmental Organizations. He walks sites, offers frank assessments, he guides, and teaches. He does more than keeps the wheels turning, he strengthens us, makes us work harder and smarter. The land trust and river advocate communities of the Commonwealth are stronger and wiser because of Russ Cohen.”

Colin Novick, Executive Director, Greater Worcester Land Trust

“Recently, I received an email from Russ thanking me for creating the program [Riverways] that he happily worked at for over 27 years.  His note brought back fond memories.   Actually, I have always been grateful to him and the folks who made Riverways a success; that got people in touch with their home watershed address and its streams; the arteries that make it function as a living natural system.  

It was a great honor to have had an idea that attracted people with such strong environmental conscience, concern and commitment, and perseverance – and competence -- as Maria Van Dusen, Joan Kimball, Russ and others. 

Russ was the lynchpin, the source of everything related to protecting and enhancing riparian systems; the one to call for advice.   He had a broad network of like-minded activists committed to a wide array of environmental issues.  At a recent event I mentioned to Russ that I was working on developing the Central Mass Rail Trail through Berlin.  Two days later I received an email with contacts of people who have been successful with development of rail trails, plus he had contacted them about my project.

It didn’t stop there; he became a leader of the wild edible plant community.  Russ, I like your vision of encouraging people to be stewards of the land by teaching them to propagate and enjoy wild edible plants.  I wish you great success with your new endeavor.

The very best to you good friend, thank you.”

Walter Bickford, Former Commissioner of the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Law Enforcement

Gene Chague, outdoors writer and columnist for the Berkshire Eagle, devoted a large share of his June 6 column to Russ and his work in the Berkshires and beyond (click here to read it).

Russ applied his extensive knowledge of and interest in plants and riverine vegetation to several aspects of his work at DER. He compiled a list of native plant species suitable for planting in riparian areas; wrote nine fact sheets on the ecological and other beneficial functions of naturally vegetated buffers along rivers and streams, intended to aid the effective implementation of the Mass. Rivers Protection Act; and (in partnership with the Appalachian Mountain Club) prepared “Trees, Paddlers and Wildlife”, a set of outreach materials (YouTube video, brochure and PowerPoint presentation) intended to raise the awareness of paddlers, riparian land owners and managers, and others about the ecological and other beneficial values of retaining trees and other woody vegetation (living or dead) in and along rivers and streams. (Click here or on the image below to see the video.)

screen shot of video screen with russ cohen

Still image taken from Russ’/AMC’s “Trees, Paddlers and Wildlife” video.

One of Russ’ unique talents is his ability to recognize, and pass along, information he finds out about to the specific people and organizations that are likely to benefit from it. Perhaps you are among the many folks that have been the fortunate recipients of Russ’ steady stream of “FYI just in case you don’t already know about this” email messages, informing you of a grant opportunity, news story or an event taking in place in your town or watershed, that you did in fact not know about, and were grateful that Russ had brought it to your attention.

Last but not least: a two-part gathering in Russ’ honor (a paddle and potluck) has been organized for the afternoon of Friday, July 10 up on the North Shore.  Please let me know [at tim.purinton@state.ma.us or (617) 626-1542 ] if you might be interested in taking part in either or both parts of the celebration, and I’d be happy to send you more details.

Division of Ecological Restoration News and Project Updates

Restoration Project Updates

By Nick Wildman, Restoration Specialist

Plymco Dam Removal Final Touches Underway

Working through some of the toughest winter conditions on record, D&C Construction of Rockland completed a picture-perfect removal of the Plymco Dam, on Town Brook in Plymouth. On April 25th, the project team celebrated the completion of the project with the public as part of the Plymouth Herring Festival. Attendees at the celebration included high-level staff from the town of Plymouth, NOAA, US Fish & Wildlife Service, as well as American Rivers and The Nature Conservancy. Thousands of herring surged up the brook as the speakers praised the project team’s efforts over the past years. In the coming weeks, the D&C crew will complete the roadway work, utility hook-ups, bridge façade, and final plantings around the site.

Man standing at podium with others seated behind.
Buck Sutter, Director of the NOAA Center for Habitat Conservation, addresses the crowd at Town Brook at the Plymco site.

Red Brook Headwaters Project Enters Permitting Phase

This spring, the efforts to restore fish passage and ecological processes in the upper reaches of Red Brook will go in front of state and local regulators. Since 2010, DER has been working closely with the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, A.D. Makepeace, and Trout Unlimited to develop plans for restoring over 70 acres of former cranberry bogs known as Century Bog, which is part of the Red Brook Wildlife Management Area. The site lies at the outlet of White Island Pond, and spans across the Wareham/Plymouth line. The goals of the project are to improve fish passage, protect and enhance habitat for wild sea-run (aka “salter”) brook trout, and improve the wetland and ecological functions of the site. Princeton Hydro, LLC has provided the engineering and science for the designs. Additional support for the project has been provided by US Fish & Wildlife Service and the NOAA Restoration Center.

Over 70 acres of former cranberry bog will be restored to wetland as part of the Red Brook Headwaters Project
Over 70 acres of former cranberry bog will be restored to wetland as part of the Red Brook Headwaters Project.

Preliminary Plans Completed for Headwaters Restoration in Chilmark

DER and staff from the Sheriffs Meadow Foundation have been hard at work developing plans to upgrade an undersized culvert on Mill Brook in Chilmark. The culvert is located on the Foundation’s Roth Woodlands property on Old Farm Road. Over the winter, engineers and scientists from Inter-Fluve, Inc. conducted initial modeling, sediment analysis, and design for a larger, stronger, and more wildlife-friendly culvert. The Mill Brook Headwaters Restoration Project will restore habitat connectivity and improve water quality to benefit wildlife as well as river health. Design, permitting, and community outreach for this project will continue through 2015.

Cold Brook and the Restoration of the Bank Street Bog Nature Preserves Enters Design

By Franz Ingelfinger, DER Restoration Ecologist 

Map Overview of the Bank Street Bog Nature Preserve
Map Overview of the Bank Street Bog Nature Preserve, a 66-acre property open to the public and owned and managed by the Harwich Conservation Trust.

With financial support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, DER recently contracted with Princeton Hydro, LLC to develop comprehensive restoration design alternatives for the 66-acre Bank Street Bog Nature Preserve in Harwich.  Owned and managed by the Harwich Conservation Trust (HCT), the property is a retired cranberry farm that has been out of production for over a decade.  Princeton Hydro will be synthesizing site-specific data on surface and groundwater hydrology, soils and topography, to help the team come up with a holistic restoration concept for the property.  The site has several interesting attributes, including the potential for significant tidal influence, a large American eel run, and the opportunity to enhance nitrogen attenuation to benefit water quality in Saquatucket Harbor.  Our compliments to HCT, who has worked tirelessly to advance ecological restoration at the site since acquiring the property in 2001.

Cotton Gin Dam – Planning Commences for Dam’s Removal (East Bridgewater)

For several months, DER has been working with Gomez and Sullivan Engineers (G&S) to develop preliminary engineering design and permitting work for the removal of the Cotton Gin Dam, on the Satucket River in East Bridgewater.  After collecting site information last fall (hydrology, topography, and structural assessments), G&S spent the winter analyzing data and developing strategies to extract the dam from this highly-developed river reach – old mill buildings and retaining walls line the banks for several hundred feet in either direction.  Of primary concern is the Route 106 bridge, located immediately upstream.  The project team is working with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to evaluate strategies to protect the bridge foundations post-removal.  Removing the dam will open up thirteen miles for blueback herring, and provide alewife with access to more than 700 acres of spawning habitat, making this one of the highest ecological priorities for dam removal in southeastern MA. Funding for project development and permitting has been secured as part of the $5 million DOI/NFWF Sandy Resiliency award to DER, covering numerous dam removals and other work around Massachusetts.

View of the Cotton Gin Dam looking upstream
View (looking upstream) of the Cotton Gin Dam and associated mill buildings, retaining walls, and bridge over Route 106, East Bridgewater.

Muddy Creek Tidal Restoration Completes Regulatory Review (Chatham and Harwich)

After over a decade of study and planning, the Muddy Creek Bridge Restoration project takes a step closer to construction, as regulatory review concludes this spring.  With permits in hand, construction is anticipated to commence this fall.  The project’s success is due in large part to the collaborative efforts of the Towns of Harwich and Chatham and the Pleasant Bay Alliance.  Construction funding is provided in-part by U.S. DOI Hurricane Sandy Mitigation Fund and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetland Conservation Grant Program.  The project engineer is CDR Maguire of Providence, Rhode Island.

Artist’s rendering with bridget spanning creek.
Artist’s rendering of the planned Muddy Creek Restoration Project. Undersized stone culverts will be replaced with a 91-foot single-span bridge and open channel to restore tidal flow to Muddy Creek – a 1.5-mile long tidal creek in Chatham and Harwich, MA.

DER seeks input to shape the content of its Stream Continuity Program

Tim Chorey, Stream Continuity Specialist

Stream Continuity Program survey banner

Continuing the stream continuity work DER/Riverways Program pioneered in the early 2000s, DER is now developing a state-wide Stream Continuity Program to help cities and towns replace failing or undersized culverts with structures that incorporate the MA Stream Crossing Standards. Past storm events have shown that culverts incorporating the MA Stream Crossing Standards hold up better during floods, are more cost-effective for municipalities in the long term, and restore river health. Replacing failing and undersized culverts will improve flood resilience, climate change readiness, and aquatic organism passage in your community.

To help us structure the development of the Stream Continuity Program, we designed a survey to be taken by road managers and community decision makers. Please share this survey with your local officials. The survey should only take 5-10 minutes to complete. The goal is to identify current obstacles road managers face when replacing culverts. The responses to this survey are important to determine the type of assistance and material the Division of Ecological Restoration will offer. We would appreciate responses by June 25, 2015. Click here to fill out the survey, or alternatively, please pass along this link (http://goo.gl/forms/3e4nRWOIiS) to road managers and community decision makers. Should you or they have any questions or comments, please contact me at timothy.chorey@state.ma.us or (617) 626-1541. Thank you.

Judy Grinnell of the Hoosic River Revival wins EPA Environmental Merit Award

By Cindy Delpapa, Stream Ecologist

In an Earth Day ceremony at historic Faneuil Hall, Judy Grinnell of the Hoosic River Revival was awarded an EPA Region 1 Environmental Merit Award (click here to download the program for the 2015 award ceremony).  Judy’s untiring work and expansive vision to improve the Hoosic River and North Adams has made a big impact in this small city, and earned Judy this prestigious environmental award.  The Hoosic River Revival project has been highlighted in previous articles in Ebb & Flow as a DER priority urban project.  The excerpt from the EPA Merit Award program captured the essence of what Judy has brought to this formidable task of reinventing 2.4 miles of concrete into a living and accessible river: “ Grinnell’s energy and enthusiasm has inspired many others to join the effort, thus making possible her vision of a beautiful and ecologically healthy river in North Adams.”

Judy Grinnell, Deborah Szaro, Ralph Abele, and Carl Dierker at EPA Environmental Merit Awards
Judy Grinnell is third from the left, flanked by Deborah Szaro, Ralph Abele, and Carl Dierker of EPA Region 1. Photo Courtesy of US EPA Region 1.

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Resources and Grants

Grant, Prize, Fellowship, Contest, Award, Fundraising, etc. Opportunities

(presented in rough chronological order by application/nomination/entry deadline)

The Best Buy Community Grants Program provides support to community-based organizations that are located within 50 miles of a Best Buy facility. Grants promote programs that create hands-on learning opportunities for underserved teens to engage them in learning, experimenting, and interacting with the latest technologies to build 21st century skills. Eligible programs must build technology skills utilizing cutting-edge technology such as computers, digital cameras, video cameras, and professional software; deliver community-based youth programs for teens, ages 13-18, during out of school time; and serve a diverse population. Grants typically range from $4,000 to $6,000, and will not exceed $10,000. Public and nonprofit community-based organizations (e.g., community centers, schools, and libraries) are eligible to apply. Online proposals may be submitted until the deadline of 8:00 AM on June 29, 2015. Visit the Best Buy Corporate Foundation website to review the program guidelines.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced the availability of additional funding via its Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  Authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, the RCPP competitively awards funds to conservation projects designed by local partners. Eligible partners include private companies, universities, non-profit organizations, local and tribal governments and others joining with agricultural and conservation organizations and producers to invest money, manpower and materials to their proposed initiatives.  RCPP will address Mass. state priorities, including: water quality degradation, soil quality degradation, soil erosion, plant condition degradation, inadequate fish and wildlife habitat, energy use inefficiency and insufficient water. “Local decision making is empowered through this program – bringing together conservation groups, cities and townships, sportsmen groups, universities, agricultural associations and others – to design conservation projects that are tailored to our needs here in the Commonwealth,” said Christine Clarke, NRCS State Conservationist in Massachusetts. This program is a prime example of how government can serve as a catalyst for private investment in natural resource conservation.” Pre-proposals are due July 8, 2015.  Click here for general info on the RCPP; here for specific info on the current grant round; and here for Massachusetts-specific info on the RCPP. [Click here to learn about the NRCS’ new Conservation Client Gateway for requesting grants and technical assistance.]

The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced that the Mass. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) is soliciting Requests for Responses (RFR) from municipalities for its Dam and Seawall Repair or Removal Program, which helps to fund the repair and removal of dams, levees and seawalls to help restore ecological systems, improve public safety and protect key public assets.  Grants of up to $1,000,000 are available for dam and levee projects, and up to $3,000,000 for coastal protection projects. The program is funded by the EEA Environmental Bond and the Dam and Seawall Repair and Removal Fund.  The deadline to apply is July 14, 2015; click here for more info, including info on other sources of funding for dam removal, and here for the posting about this grant opportunity on CommBuys, the state procurement website.

Earlier this spring, the Mass. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)’s Division of Conservation Services (DCS) announced the availability of FY16 funding for several of its programs. The   Massachusetts Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) Program (formerly the Self-Help Program), first established in 1961 to assist municipal conservation commissions in acquiring land for natural resource and passive outdoor recreation purposes, provides matching funding to municipalities. Lands acquired may include wildlife, habitat, trails, unique natural, historic or cultural resources, water resources, forest, and farm land. Compatible passive outdoor recreational uses such as hiking, fishing, hunting, cross-country skiing, bird observation and the like are encouraged. Access by the general public is required. The Massachusetts Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) Program(formerly the Urban Self-Help Program) was established in 1977 to assist cities and towns in acquiring and developing land for park and outdoor recreation purposes. Any town with a population of 35,000 or more year-round residents, or any city regardless of size, that has an authorized park /recreation commission is eligible to participate in the program. Communities that do not meet the population criteria listed above may still qualify under the “small town”, “regional”, or “statewide” project provisions of the program.  Both LAND and PARC applications are due on July 15, 2015. The Conservation Partnership Grant Program provides funding to assist non-public, not-for-profit corporations (such as land trusts) in acquiring interests in lands suitable for conservation or recreation purposes; the deadline for that program is July 20, 2015. Click here or contact Melissa Cryan [(617) 626-1171, Melissa.cryan@state.ma.us] for more info on these or the other grant programs administered by the DCS.

The mission of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) is to strengthen the quality, reach, and viability of journalism across all media to advance public understanding of environmental issues. SEJ's Fund for Environmental Journalism invests in top quality public service journalism on environment-related issues, and the journalists who produce it. Funding supports the development and dissemination of significant coverage that otherwise could not be completed. Grants of up to $5,000 are available to underwrite story projects in three categories: 1) open topic, including international; 2) coverage of land-use issues of North America; and 3) coverage of biodiversity conservation and climate change impacts in North America. Journalists working independently or on the staff of either a for-profit or nonprofit news organization worldwide may apply for a grant. SEJ membership is not required, but all applicants must meet membership eligibility requirements. (Applicants who are not SEJ members must pay a $40 application fee.) The application deadline for the summer cycle is July 15, 2015; click here for more info. 

The Woodard & Curran Foundation, the charitable arm of integrated engineering, science, and operations company Woodard & Curran, is accepting applications from nonprofit organizations with an environmental mission focused on creating a healthier world.  The foundation will award up to four grants in 2015, with a maximum grant amount of $20,000, for projects that promote a clean and sustainable environment.  The foundation favors projects that have a defined educational component and rely on volunteers to accomplish their mission. Priority will be given to projects located in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, or Wyoming.  To be eligible, organizations must be considered tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, have a mission aligned with the foundation's  environmental values,  and incorporate health or education into their projects. Organizations are encouraged to submit their applications early, as only the first forty qualified applications will be considered. Click here or write to Kelly Cowan at grants@woodardcurranfoundation.org for more info. 

The National Park Service (NPS)’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) helps communities create close-to-home recreation opportunities and conserve natural resources. The RTCA is accepting applications through August 1 for help with a wide range of community-led projects. NPS/RTCA staff can help local leaders: Develop close-to-home parks and greenways; Manage community-led visioning, planning, and design; Facilitate public involvement; build sustainable partnerships; engage youth through outdoor recreation skill-building and conservation stewardship; and plan for trails, landscape conservation, water trails, river restoration, green transportation, and tourism  Find out if your project/organization is eligible for/could benefit from NPS/RTCA assistance by first reviewing the application process and exploring current projects in your state; then  call or email a National Park Service staff member near you to discuss your idea, and let them know by July 15 if you intend to submit an application by the August 1 due date. Click here for contact info for the NPS/RTCA staff in Massachusetts, and here to view a short video and here for a longer video about the RTCA.  

Acres for America, a partnership between Walmart Stores, Inc. and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, supports efforts to conserve lands of national significance, protect critical fish and wildlife habitat, and benefit people and local economies. Preference will be given to projects that achieve more than one of the following program priorities: conserve critical habitats for birds, fish, plants, and wildlife; connect existing protected lands to unify wild places and protect critical migration routes; provide access for people to enjoy the outdoors; and ensure the future of local economies that depend on forestry, ranching, and recreation. All grant awards require a minimum 1:1 match of cash or contributed goods and services. Nonprofit organizations, state and local government agencies, Indian tribes, and educational institutions are eligible to apply. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Regional Office Director [Amanda Bassow, amanda.bassow@nfwf.org] to discuss project ideas prior to applying. Pre-proposals are due July 23, 2015; invited full proposals must be submitted by September 17, 2015.  There is a webinar for potential applicants scheduled for June 25 from 2:00 PM – 3:00. Click here for more info on this grant opportunity.   

Partners for Places, an initiative of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, is a matching grant program that creates opportunities for cities and counties in the United States and Canada to improve communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability offices and place-based foundations. Through the program, funders invest in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being of all residents. For Round Seven, grants will range between $25,000 and $75,000 for one-year projects, or $50,000 and $150,000 for two-year projects, with a 1:1 match required by one or more local foundations. The proposal must be submitted by a team of at least two partners consisting of the sustainability director of a city or a county, and the local, place-based foundation(s). The application deadline is July 27, 2015; click here to download the Request for Proposals or for more info.   

The PeopleForBikes Community Grant Program offers funding for important and influential projects that leverage federal funding and build momentum for bicycling in communities across the U.S. Grants of up to $10,000 are provided for bicycle infrastructure projects and targeted advocacy initiatives that make it easier and safer for people of all ages and abilities to ride. Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations with a focus on bicycling, active transportation, or community development; city or county agencies or departments; and state or federal agencies working locally. Letters of interest for the fall 2015 grant cycle will be accepted from June 15 to July 31, 2015. Visit the PeopleForBikes website to review the grant guidelines.

The Gould Charitable Foundation “is a philanthropic trust created as a memorial to the late Robert L. Gould. Our mission is to assist organizations in improving the communities where Mr. Gould lived and worked -- the greater metropolitan areas of Boston and Kansas City, by making grants to fund projects at 501(c)(3) charitable organizations whose vision and goals are aligned with our areas of interest. We have particular interest in funding innovative projects rather than ongoing maintenance or capital campaigns, with priority given to moderately-sized projects for which the Foundation’s contribution can comprise a significant portion of the project’s budget. We also give priority to projects that have high leveraging potential in terms of expansion and/or replication.”  Environmental stewardship is one of the Foundation’s current funding focus areas. “Charitable organizations that service the target geographic areas and match our interests are encouraged to apply for funding. Grants typically range from $5,000 to $50,000. Please refer to the section on grant guidelines for more details of our application process.”  Groups seeking funding are encouraged to submit a letter of inquiry (LOI) before the annual deadline of August 1 – click here for more info.  

Approximately $1.7 million in National Maritime Heritage Grants for education or preservation projects are available for 2015. Proposals for grants will be accepted until the deadline of August 3, 2015. Education projects can request $15,000-50,000 and preservation projects can request $50,000-200,000. Funding for Maritime Heritage Grants is competitive. Project grants are administered through the Maritime Heritage Program and State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs – click here for the Mass. office). Click here and here for more info.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) recently announced the availability of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding. This post-disaster mitigation grant funding is now available statewide as a result of the federal disaster declaration for the January 2015 Severe Winter Storm.  The HMGP provides significant opportunities to reduce, minimize, or eliminate potential damages to property and infrastructure from natural hazard events. Funding for hazard mitigation plans and projects can reduce overall risks to the population, structures and infrastructure, while also reducing the reliance on taxpayer-funded federal disaster assistance for disaster recovery.  Applications for mitigation projects and hazard mitigation planning, submitted by August 3, 2015, will be reviewed and, if appropriate, recommended to FEMA for advanced funding. These applications must meet all HMA program requirements, have a complete application package, and display strong commitment for implementation at the time of award.  The second application deadline of November 23, 2015 is for those projects and plans that need additional refinement and application development work before an application can be submitted. This will be the final deadline for submission of applications under this grant program Click here for more details on eligibility, matching requirements, etc.; here to read the HMGP 2015 Guidance, now in effect, and other helpful tools for prospective HMGP applicants; or contact Sarah White [(508) 820-2053 or sarah.white@state.ma.us] for more info.

The outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia‘s Environmental Grant Program supports small, grassroots activist organizations that have provocative direct-action agendas and are working on multi-pronged campaigns to preserve and protect the environment. Grants of up to $12,000 will be awarded for projects that are action-oriented, build public involvement and support, focus on root causes, and demonstrate a commitment to long-term change.  The company does not fund organizations without §501(c)(3) status or an eligible fiscal sponsor. Grants are not provided for general environmental education efforts; land acquisition, land trusts, or conservation easements; research (unless it is in direct support of a developed plan for specific action to alleviate an environmental problem); environmental conferences; endowment funds; political campaigns; or green building projects. In addition to the corporate grant program, each Patagonia retail store administers a local grants program (click here for a store locator), and may support your efforts in other ways (such as hosting events or product donations).  While retail store grant applications are accepted year round, the deadline for the next corporate grant round is August 31. Click here for complete program guidelines, application requirements, info on previous grant recipients, etc.

The Santander Bank Foundation “seeks to enhance the quality of life for individuals by supporting local non-profit organizations in the communities we serve. The Santander Bank Foundation makes charitable contributions to 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. Foundation resources are allocated across a wide range of charitable organizations with emphasis on programs benefiting low- and moderate-income individuals and communities.” One of the Foundation’s focus areas for 2015 is Neighborhood Revitalization.  The next application deadline is September 18, 2015; click here for more info.

The Landscape Partnership Program, a grant program administered by the Mass. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)’s Division of Conservation Services, “seeks to preserve large, unfragmented, high-value conservation landscapes including working forests and farms, expand state-municipal-private partnerships, increase leveraging of state dollars, enhance stewardship of conservation land, and provide public recreation opportunities.  The program offers competitive grants to municipalities, non-profit organizations, and EEA agencies acting cooperatively to permanently protect a minimum of 500 acres of land”. The application deadline is September 30, 2015; click here for more info.

The Olive Higgins Prouty Foundation (no web page) makes grants (generally in the $1,000 - $10,000 range) for unrestricted general support to charitable organizations involved with conservation, education, health and the arts, located in New England and elsewhere.  Organizations seeking funding should do so in the form of a letter, including a proposal and all other relevant information.  The annual submission deadline is September 30. Send it to: Robert Glew, Olive Higgins Prouty Foundation, c/o Bank of America, 100 Westminster St., Providence, RI 02903.  Telephone: (401) 278-6035.

The mission of the Gratis Foundation is to support programs in the fields of education, health care and medical research, humanitarian services, abused and neglected children and animals, specific religious causes, and assisting U.S. Military personnel and their families. It is the intent of the foundation to award grants based on achievement, excellence, significance, or leadership in a specific field or charitable endeavor.  Historically, the Foundation has shown a preference for grantmaking in Massachusetts and Maryland. The next application deadline is September 30; click here for more info.

Project Learning Tree (PLT) is a national environmental education program for educators and their students in grades Pre-K-12. GreenWorks! the service-learning component of PLT, provides grants of up to $1,000 to PLT-trained educators for students to implement environmental improvement projects. Examples of past grant projects include habitat restoration, watershed improvement, school gardens and outdoor classrooms.  Organizations (including community-based organizations), groups, centers, museums, schools, student clubs, before and after school programs, etc. that involve youth and environmental or conservation education are eligible to apply. Applicants must have attended a Project Learning Tree workshop and must involve at least one community partner. Also, the proposed project must secure at least 50% matching funds (in-kind support is acceptable). The annual application deadline is September 30; click here for more info.

Picture This: The Great Outdoors, Mass. Audubon’s 2015 Photo Contest, seeks photos that highlight people in nature and the beauty of Massachusetts wildlife and landscapes. The contest runs until September 30, and each month Mass. Audubon will highlight some of the entries on its Facebook page. Click here to find everything you need to know about how and what to enter (note, for those who have entered the Contest before, that the submission guidelines and the prizes have been updated from last year’s Contest).

The National Environmental Education Foundation encourages Americans to enjoy, protect, and maintain public lands through engagement, professional development, and partnerships. By increasing the capacity of nonprofits, it also can more effectively engage local communities to help care for our public lands. The foundation, with sponsorship from Toyota Motor Sales, USA, is inviting proposals for its Every Day Capacity Building Program. Through the annual program, grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to help nonprofit organizations build their capacity to support, promote, and maintain public lands. To be eligible, applicants must be a §501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or have a nonprofit fiscal agent; have been in existence for at least two years; be a community-based organization whose mission is focused on the improvement and responsible use of a public land site in the U.S.; and have an established collaborative relationship with a local public land site (including federal, state, regional, county, city or other local public land areas) for at least one year. The next application deadline is October 30; click here to apply or for more info. 

In its over three decades of existence, the Boston-based Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust Fund “has been a leading funder in the fields of health, education and environment in New England. As a charitable lead trust, the Cox Trust has a life cycle of 35 years, and will conclude its activities in 2017.” In the meantime, though, the Jessie B. Cox Trust Regional Conservation Partnership (RCP) Grant Initiative will be offering funding in 2016 for two programs: the RCP Innovation Grant Program will provide grants of up to $20,000 to increase the capacity of eligible RCPs to achieve effective and enduring conservation of ecologically significant lands; and the RCP Donated Land and Easement Grant Program will provide grants of up to $100,000 to help eligible RCPs implement a competitive grants program. Each grant program will then cover the transaction costs associated with the donation of conservation easement and fee simple lands in RCP conservation plan focal areas. The deadline to apply for both programs is February 1, 2016. Eligible entities and projects need to be part of a Regional Conservation Partnership and be located within a RCP (see map). Click here to read the FAQ page for more details on eligibility and the application process, or contact Prentice Zinn, Administrator – Conservation, at (617) 391-3091or pzinn@gmafoundations.com. [Click here for other potential funding sources for land conservation and other projects within RCPs.]

The mission of the Wallace Global Fund “is to promote an informed and engaged citizenry, to fight injustice, and to protect the diversity of nature and the natural systems upon which all life depends. Grants are provided for initiatives at the national and global levels, as well as for significant local or regional programs offering the potential to leverage broader impact. The focus is on nonprofit organizations and non-governmental organizations that are catalyzing significant change in line with one of the following priority areas: Challenge Corporate Power, Defend and Renew Democracy, Protect the Environment, Promote Trust and Creative Freedom in Media, and Advance Women’s Human Rights and Empowerment. Online letters of inquiry may be submitted at any time. Visit the Fund’s website to learn more about the priority areas and application guidelines.

The Charles Stuart Mott Foundation’s Environment Program “aims to support the efforts of an engaged citizenry working to create accountable and responsive institutions, sound public policies and appropriate models of development that protect communities and the diversity and integrity of ecosystems in North America and around the world. Grantmaking is organized into four areas: Addressing the Freshwater Challenge (grants focus on securing sustainable levels of clean water for people and the environment, particularly in the Great Lakes region); Transforming Development Finance (supporting efforts to shape international investment in ways that support sustainable development and reduce environmental degradation); Advancing Climate Change Solutions (seeking to advance the adoption of clean energy technologies at the community level in the U.S. and internationally); and Special Initiatives (grants in this area allow the Foundation to respond to one-time opportunities to advance environmental protection in the U.S. and internationally). As funding for unsolicited proposals is limited throughout the program, those interested in applying for funding are strongly encouraged to submit a letter of inquiry instead of a full proposal.

One of the stated purposes for which the Boston-based Nancy Foss Heath and Richard B. Heath Educational, Cultural And Environmental Foundation (no web page) was established several years ago is “to award grants in such manner and amounts as the Trustees may determine for the preservation and maintenance of the natural environment of such areas in New England as the Trustees may select, including grants to existing charitable organizations which already hold title to such areas”.  While a specific form is not required, organizations seeking funds should submit a copy of their IRS exemption letter along with a financial statement for the most recent year, and a statement of purpose.  Send it to: Gerald B. O’Grady, III, Esquire, N. F. Heath and R. B. Heath Educational, Cultural And Environmental Foundation, c/o Tyler & Reynolds, P.C., 77 Summer St., Boston, MA 02110. Telephone: (617) 695-9799.  There are no specified application deadlines.

The Outdoor Foundation is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor leaders and enthusiasts. Through its community grant-making programs, the Foundation partners with brands and businesses to support the most effective programs that inspire and activate a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts. The Foundation also works with local outdoor retailers – ensuring community support and project sustainability.  The Outdoor Foundation Community Investment Fund will award grants up to $1,000 to projects that directly result in young people engaging in outdoor recreation. Applications are considered on a rolling basis.  Click here for more info on grant eligibility and to begin the online application process. 

The Milton, MA-based Copeland Family Foundation (no web page) makes grants (generally starting at $5,000, but occasionally larger) to a large number of social service, educational, conservation and other nonprofit organizations, mostly (but not exclusively) located south and west of Boston.  Groups seeking funding should do so in the form of a letter summarizing the project and specifying the amount requested, along with evidence of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Send it to: Copeland Family Foundation, Inc., 1183 Randolph Avenue, Milton, MA 02186.  There are no specified application forms or deadlines.

The Boston area-based Ben E. Factors Foundation (no web page) makes grants (generally in the $1,000-$5,000 range) to cultural, garden and other organizations in Massachusetts and elsewhere.  Groups seeking funding should do so in writing.  Submit your request to: Ben E. Factors Foundation, P.O. Box 920054, Needham, MA 02492. Telephone: (617) 523-1635.  There are no specified application forms or deadlines.

The Providence, RI-based The Felicia Fund, Inc. (no web page) “will consider funding projects primarily along the Northeast seaboard region which relate to architecture, art, historic preservation and related educational pursuits”.  Grants are in generally in the $1,000-5,000 range, occasionally larger. Submit your funding request to: Pauline C. Metcalf, The Felicia Fund, Inc., 90 Elm St. Providence, RI 02903.  Telephone: (401) 274-1550. There are no specified application forms or deadlines. 

The Massachusetts-based Robert Treat Paine Association (no web page) makes grants (generally in the $1,000 - $5,000 range) to arts, medical, social service, conservation and other nonprofits, primarily in eastern Massachusetts.  Groups seeking funds should do so in the form of a letter describing the organization and the purpose to which the funds would be put, along with evidence of your IRS §501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.  Send it to: Robert Treat Paine Association, c/o Frederick W. Shaw, 2 international Place, 14th Floor, Boston, MA 02110.  Telephone: (617) 672-8320.  There are no specified application forms or deadlines.

The Maine-based Verrill Foundation (no web page) makes grants (generally in the $1,000-$5,000 range) to social service, youth, and environmental organizations, primarily in Maine and Massachusetts. The Foundation accepts written proposals from §501(c)(3) organizations. Send them to: Peter J. Verrill, Verrill Foundation, 7 Broad Cove Way, Cumberland Foreside, ME 04110. Telephone: (207) 846-1109.  There are no specified application forms or deadlines.

The Boston-based Keel Foundation (no web page) makes grants (usually $10,000 and higher) for cultural, health and other organizations of a non-religious and non-political nature, primarily in greater Boston and Concord, MA. Groups seeking funding should submit their requests to: Diane Gilchrish, Keel Foundation, c/o Edwards, Wildman & Palmer LLP, 111 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02199. Telephone: (617) 239-0771.  An application may subsequently be requested from the group’s Executive Director.  There are no specified application deadlines. 

The Overbrook Foundation “is a progressive family foundation that supports organizations advancing human rights and conserving the natural environment”. While, in 2015, the Foundation will not be accepting unsolicited requests for new project or operating support from organizations not currently funded by the Foundation, “we remain committed to our primary fields of interest and are eager to hear news from organizations working in those areas o human and rights and the environment presently of priority to the Foundation”.  Click here for more info on the Foundation’s Environment Program

The Maine-based outdoor retailer LL Bean’s Charitable Giving Program focuses its giving on national and local outdoor conservation and recreation organizations. Grants are made to qualified, federal tax-exempt §501(c)(3) organizations and projects that include: “the maintenance and protection of our natural resources; efforts to engage more young people in activities that are relevant to our product line, such as camping, hiking, cycling, canoeing, kayaking, fly fishing, hunting, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing; and programs that have proximity to L.L.Bean Retail Stores.”   Click here for more info on eligibility criteria and application procedures. 

Last but not least: the Mass. Executive Office of Administration and Finance (A&F for short)’s online Municipal Grant Finder service provides a central location to learn about state grant opportunities for cities and towns, regardless of which state agency manages a grant program.  The info posted here is sorted by category (see, e.g., Environment) and can also be searched by grant name or perused on a comprehensive alphabetical listing



(sorted chronologically by date of event, submission deadline, etc. Descriptive text for events provided below is obtained from the events’ web pages.)

Presentation proposals are currently being sought (until June 19) for the 2015 Massachusetts Trails Conference - “Sustainable Trails for a Sustainable Future”, to be held from November 13-14, 2015 in Leominster.  This conference is co-hosted by the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) in partnership with the Massachusetts Recreational Trail Advisory Board (MARTAB). This year’s keynote speaker this year is Woody Keen, owner of Trail Wisdom LLC, a trail consulting firm primarily focused on education.  He is also the founder and former President of Trail Dynamics, a trail design-build firm with a national reputation for innovative sustainable trail design and construction projects which have addressed the full spectrum of trail use, from hiking and mountain biking to equestrian, off-highway vehicle and accessible trails.  If you are interested in presenting a trail topic at the Conference that you think your peers and fellow trail-enthusiasts will benefit from and enjoy, please contact Amanda Lewis, Recreational Trails Program Coordinator at amanda.lewis@state.ma.us with a description of the presentation, its intended audience and your relative experience. [June 19 is also the deadline to submit presentation proposals for this fall’s New England Bike Walk Summitin Worcester; click here for more info.]

“You’re a savvy nonprofit professional, so you know how important it is to build organizational capacity, and how powerful technology can be in that pursuit. You’re also painfully aware of just how difficult and time consuming it can be to bring a successful technology project from start to finish. Skilled volunteers can help provide the expertise and man-hours required, but volunteer management has its own set of challenges – particularly when tricky technology systems are involved.” Common Impact (a Boston-based nonprofit that develops and oversees skilled volunteer programs and engages corporate employee teams in strategic, operational consulting roles for nonprofits) is offering a one-hour webinar entitled Technology Volunteer Management Best Practiceson Thursday, June 25, 2015 from 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM. The cost is $30. Click here to register and here for more info.

In Sudbury, Massachusetts, the incessant march of invasive plant species is meeting resistance by SWEET, Inc (the Sudbury Weed Education and Eradication Team).  Established in August 2009, SWEET’s mission is to make people aware of the harm that invasive plant species do to our historic and environmentally sensitive natural areas and parks. With the help of community volunteers and students, the group teaches identification and responsible removal of invasive plants from designated Sudbury sites including the large wooded property at the Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School (LSRHS). Learn more about this effort at an Ecological Landscape Alliance (ELA)-sponsored  workshop entitled Reclaiming the Land: Successful Invasives Management, taking place on Saturday, June 27, 2015 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon.  The workshop will take place at the LSRHS in Sudbury (see map). Join SWEET founder, Rebecca Chizzo for a walking tour at LSRHS to learn how to identify common invasive plants (such as Japanese honeysuckle, black swallowwort, Oriental bittersweet, multiflora rose, glossy buckthorn, and Cypress spurge) and how you can control or reduce their proliferation on your own property – without using chemicals.  Click here to sign up or for more info.

Climate change has – and will continue to – impact fish, wildlife, and plants and the habitats upon which they depend through effects on species’ distribution and abundance, community composition, productivity, timing of life history events, and other biological and ecological characteristics. Some species are even threatened with extinction. Not only are fish, wildlife, and plants inherently worthy of conservation, they provide valuable ecosystem services – including jobs, food, clean water, storm protection, carbon sequestration, health benefits and many others – that support people, communities and economies across the nation every day. Climate change impacts are expected to increase with continued changes in the planet’s climate system. Action is needed now to help safeguard fish, wildlife, and plants and the communities and economies that depend on them.” Learn more about this at Climate Change Impacts on Fish and Wildlife, a free webinar taking place on Mon., June 29 from 2:00 PM-3:30 PM. Go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5056697223288190977 to sign up or for more info. [Click here to read about how MA land conservation groups are using “hot and cold” maps to identify and prioritize land protection projects.]

Presentations are currently being sought (until June 30, 2015) for the 15th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference, to be held from February 11-13, 2016 in Portland, OR. The theme for the event is “Practical Tools and Innovative Strategies for Creating Great Communities.” Click here for more info on the Call for Session Proposals (CFSP), including the opportunity to view proposals that have already been submitted.

The weekend of July 4-5 has been designated by Mass. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) as Free Saltwater Fishing Days.  “On these two days, no permit is required to fish recreationally in the Commonwealth’s marine waters, out to three miles. Anglers looking for a spot to drop a line from shore, or a boat ramp to put in a kayak, canoe, or larger vessel, should check out the Office of Fishing and Boating Access’ Directory of Access Sites. All other days of the year, saltwater anglers over the age of 15 are required to possess a Massachusetts Recreational Saltwater Fishing Permit, which funds improvements to saltwater fisheries and fishing access.”  Click here for more info on the Free Saltwater Fishing days, and here for info on the Massachusetts Saltwater Recreational Fishing Guide.

In the upcoming conference call, Heart & Soul Talks: Storytelling for Community Engagement Makes a Difference , scheduled to take place on Thursday, July 9 from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, “hear how the Orton Family Foundation’s Community Heart & Soul™ approach incorporates personal story to illuminate a community’s history, priorities, and aspirations, and how data from storytelling can be used to drive local decision-making. The program features Featuring Alece Montez-Griego, director of programs, Orton Family Foundation; Holli Andrews, executive director, Framingham Downtown Renaissance; and Elaine Brett, project coordinator, North Fork Valley Heart & Soul”.  Click here to register for this free event. [See more about storytelling in the Non-Governmental On-line Resources section below.]

The Neponset River Watershed Association (NepRWA) and The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) are co-sponsoring an after-work geology walk along the lowermost reaches of the Neponset River where it enters a tidal estuary. The walk takes place on Thursday, July 9 and begins at 6:00 PM. “We will look at the sedimentary rock (the locally-named puddingstone) evidence of ancient, rugged mountains to the west of Boston, broad shallow seas covering most of Milton and Mattapan, and recent glacial features. This is an easy walk on a part of the DCR Neponset Rail Trail property, through the Victorian age (excellent architectural details) Baker Chocolate building complex flanking the river, along quiet side streets, and several public green spaces”. The walk will be led by Les Tyrala, registered geologist and NepRWA board member.  Pre-registration is required and space is limited to the first 20 people.  Please RSVP to fyler@neponset.org or by calling (781) 575-0354 ext. 307.  Click here for more info.

The Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) is hosting a free Guided Nature Walk for Families on the Old Mill Trail in Hinsdale on Saturday, July 11 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon.  The trail follows the East Branch of the Housatonic River. “Complete a scavenger hunt, search for river critters and learn about the river habitat. Appropriate for families with young children.” Click here or contact the HVA [adixon@hva.org or (413) 394-9796] to sign up or for more info.

Geology comes alive through the clear and often humorous stories of Richard Little, Professor Emeritus of Find out at an event entitled Fire and Ice: Geologist Richard Little on Board the Quinnetukut II, taking place in Northfield on Sunday, July 12, 2015 from 1:15 PM – 2:45 PM.  “This relaxing cruise on the Connecticut River will be filled with tales of drifting continents, earthquakes, dinosaurs, glaciers and Lake Hitchcock, all part of the creation of the idyllic Connecticut Valley. Don’t miss this overview of the amazing geology of our region by one of our greatest geology educators.” Suitable for children 10 years or older. Fee:  $12 adults, $11 seniors, $6 children. Register by calling (800) 859-2960, or click here for more info. The event is sponsored by the Northfield Mountain Recreation & Environmental Center.

The Great River Race 2015, sponsored by the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, will take place on Sunday, July 12 from 7:30 AM – 12:00 Noon in Marshfield. “All skill levels are invited to participate on a non-motorized vessel including canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and rowboats. We even have a prize for the ‘Best Decorated Boat or Boater’ for the less serious paddler. The race course starting line is at the Union Street Bridge  on the Norwell side, and the take out is at the Hanover Canoe Launch, approximately one mile up river from the Washington Street Bridge “finish line” on the Hanover/Pembroke Line. The race course is 7 miles (see map). After the race, the fun continues at the Awards Celebration that is held at McGreal’s Tavern (690 Main Street, entrance in rear on West Street) in Norwell Center (near the start of the race) at 12:00 Noon. Awards are given to top three winners in each category. Food and beverages are available for purchase. Click here to sign up or for more info.

“We are already experiencing the migration of animals and humans with climate shifts. The severity and frequency of wildfires, droughts, floods and ocean acidification are increasing. Impacts to our economy, infrastructure and atmosphere have lead us to difficult choices regarding land use and future policy development to better manage our natural resources. Integrated Water Resource Planning: Water, Forests, People & Policy, an American Water Resources Association (AWRA)-sponsored webinar taking place on July 16 at 1:00 PM, will include a series of graphics, photos and statements reflective of integrated water resource management, with specific reference to forest management, in a changing climate. Q&A to follow.” Click here to register or for more info.

The New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS) is hosting a two-session Wetland Plant Identification course, taught by NEWFS botanist Ted Elliman, on Thursday, July 16, 2015 from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, and Friday, July 17 from 10:00 AM–2:00 PM.  Following a lecture Thursday evening, the class will visit a red maple swamp, a floodplain marsh, and a pond on Friday to observe ferns, sedges, and various aquatic species as well as shrubs and trees.  The workshop meets at NEWFS’ Garden in the Woods property in Framingham. The course is co-sponsored by the Mass. Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC). Click here to sign up or for more info.

The Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) is hosting a free Paddle Trip from Great Barrington to the Sheffield Covered Bridgeon Saturday, July 18 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. “Paddle a meandering stretch of the Housatonic River through Great Barrington and into Sheffield. Enjoy views of the surrounding hills and farmland.  Canoes and equipment provided, or register to bring your own boat.” Click here or contact the HVA [adixon@hva.org or (413) 394-9796] to sign up or for more info.

Now scheduled for Sunday, July 19, the Seventh Annual Charles River One Mile Swim (rescheduled from 6/6/15), co-sponsored by the Charles River Swimming Club and the Charles River Conservancy, begins at 8:00 AM at the River Dock by the Hatch Shell.  After decades of pollution, the Charles River has benefited from the ongoing Clean Charles River Initiative, started in 1995 to restore the river’s ecological health.  The river is now clean enough on most summer days to meet swimming standards. This race is celebrating the efforts that went into cleaning the river and to highlight the need for continued clean-up to enable recreational swimming in the future. 150 swimmers are expected to participate at this year’s swim race. Click here to register for the event or here for more info. The Swimming Club is always looking for race volunteers as well – click here if you may be interested.

Many nonprofits have one standard proposal that they mass mail to potential funders. This is a mistake, since it is critical to customize each grant proposal so that it matches the funder's own criteria as closely as possible. With so much information available today on exactly what funders are looking for, and with competition as steep as it is now, it is essential to go the extra mile to make each proposal special. In Customizing Your Grant Proposal to Meet a Funder’s Needs , a GrantStation-sponsored webinar taking place on Thursday, July 23, 2015 from 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM, presenter Judith Margolin will provides specific advice on tailoring grant requests to meet funder's needs. This webinar is ideal for intermediate and advanced grant writers.  Click here to sign up or for more info on this and other GrantStation webinars, and here to learn about GrantStation’s PathFinder, a new, free, interactive website designed to assist grant seekers with “top quality resources in the area of grant research, writing, and management, as well as strategic planning. These resources can strengthen your ability to secure grant awards.”

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) recently put out a call for presentation abstracts for the AWWA Sustainable Water Management Conference, which will be held from March 7-10, 2016 in Providence, RI. The conference will present solutions for balancing the benefits of conservation with the costs, managing water resources, sustainable utilities and infrastructure, urban planning and design, energy efficiency, water conservation, stormwater and reuse. The deadline to submit an abstract is July 23, 2015; click here for more info.   

“Invasive plants are out of control. We find them along roads, deep in forests, lurking in our own backyards. But is use of herbicides out of control, too? Are there viable options for regaining control without the use of chemicals?” Find out the answer(s) at Out of Control: Chemical-free Strategies for Invasive Plant Control, a workshop sponsored by the Ecological Landscape Alliance, to be held on Wednesday, July 29 from 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM at Garden in the Woods Education Center in Framingham. Six speakers will consider non-chemical control of invasives from a variety of perspectives, and consider whether there are situations that defy a chemical-free approach. In a panel discussion wrap-up, our experts will take on your toughest questions. Registration is required and space is limited; click here to sign up or for more info.

A significant side project to the construction of Gillette Stadium a decade ago was the restoration of a long stretch of the Neponset River adjacent to the new stadium’s parking lot. Racetrack construction on the site in the 1940s had forced a segment of the river underground. The new sports stadium needed parking, and the silt-clogged waterway needed daylighting and restoration. Hired by the New England Patriots/Kraft Group, Tom Benjamin was engaged to enhance daylighting and recreate the riparian habitat for a one mile section of Neponset River, including all aspects of the landscape design, from the master plan through to construction documents. Learn more about and view this project site during the workshop A River Runs Through It: Daylighting of the Neponset River at Gillette Stadium, co-sponsored by the Ecological Landscape Alliance and the Southern New England Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society and taking place on August 6, 2015 from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM.  You will see that the daylighting project removed two blocked culverts and reconnected disrupted sections of the river, diverting flow back to river’s historic alignment. Wetland mitigation and flood control provided major drivers for this fast-tracked project that proceeded from concept to implementation in less than one year. The primary flood control structure, a large berm, served as an access path to the stadium’s railroad station, adding to the project’s visibility. Tom leveraged complex wetland compliance elements to maximize the visual impact and biodiversity values of the restored river corridor’s natural edge to developed portion of site. Join Tom Benjamin along with Kraft Group project manager, Dan Krantz, to tour the site a decade later and witness the progress of the maturing habitat. Click here to sign up or for more info.

A Tale Of Trails - The Hoosic River Trailis the title of free presentation taking place from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Bascom Lodge, on the summit of Mt. Greylock, on Wednesday, August 12, 2015. “Most of the Mount Greylock range drains into the Hoosic River, which collects in Cheshire Reservoir and southern Vermont before winding across Rensselaer County, New York, to the Hudson at Schaghticook. Learn from presenter Lauren Stevens how the Hoosic River Watershed Association is at work on projects along the Hoosic and its tributaries in three states to create a ‘river trail’, a series of put-ins, carries, trails and greenways to enhance recreation, bring more of the population closer to the river and increase appreciation for this natural asset.”  Click here for more info.

The Center for Watershed Protection (CWP) is hosting a webcast entitled What to Do About Trashy Watersheds that will take place on September 16, 2015 from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM. “The most publicly-visible pollutant in urban watersheds is trash and “gross solids.” This can be a significant impairment, and one that is hard to control. Learn from places that have been managing trash as part of local or regional TMDLs and some of the approaches that have been tried. Of course, this webcast will feature a lot of trash-talking.” Click here to sign up or for more info on this and other CWP webcasts.

The 10th Annual Slocum Challenge Regatta, sponsored by the Lloyd Center for Environmental Studies, is scheduled to take place the morning of Saturday, September 19 on the Slocum River Estuary in South Dartmouth, MA. “The regatta is open to racing shells, open-water shells, kayaks, canoes, surf-skis, traditional rowing boats, whaleboats, pilot gigs, and stand-up paddleboards, with separate age-categories for competitors under 20, over 50, and over 65, all in Men’s, Women’s and ‘Mixed’ (co-ed) divisions. As always, the emphasis of the regatta will be on good fun and enjoyment of the scenic Slocum River. A light post-race lunch will be provided at the Awards Ceremony, immediately following the races at the Lloyd Center’s headquarters (430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth)”. Click here for more info.

The River Ride 2015 Bike-a-thon/Family Fun Ride, an event organized by the Greater Lowell Community Foundation and benefiting local charities, will take place (rain or shine) on September 26, 2015. The Bike-a-Thon is a 15-mile loop along the Merrimack River (view Route), while the Family Fun Ride is a 5-mile loop through the Tyngsboro Lowell State Forest. Both starting lines are at the same location: Lowell First Church of the Nazarene, 1195 Varnum Avenue in Lowell (see map). Registration begins at 7:45 AM, and the ride starts at 9:00 AM. 100% of all money each participating team raises, excluding registration fees, will go towards each team’s chosen nonprofit organization. Click here to sign up or for more info.

The New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF) will be hosting Fall 2015 RootSkills Retreat
from October 3-4 (Saturday-Sunday) in the Brattleboro, VT area. “Join fellow community innovators and activists for a day of skills-sharpening, designed especially for the grassroots! Come celebrate community action, share stories, learn and reflect on different skills that make us successful.”  Click here for more info.

Oysters as a nutritious and sustainable local food.  Oysters as purifiers of over-productive coastal waters and estuaries.  Oysters as essential habitat for diverse marine life.  Oysters as natural barriers to protect from destructive storm surges.  Why all this attention now? Although oysters have been performing all of these functions for millions of years, long before the initiation of human discourse, it seems that we are waking up to appreciate the fundamental roles oysters play in the coastal waters where humankind interacts with the sea and land.  We envision futures with oysters as part of saving the well-being of the planet that sustains our ever-growing population.  But are these various visions compatible, or are some mutually exclusive?” This and other questions will be addressed at the Sixth International Oyster Symposium (ISO6) of the World Oyster Society, which will convene in Falmouth, MA (Cape Cod) from October 21-23, 2015. ISO6 is expected to be “a dynamic, forward-looking three-day exchange where representatives from academia, industry, business, conservation, restoration, government, and cultural communities from around the world can share research, case studies, and projects relative to oysters and their place in ocean and coastal community preservation, and human affairs.”  Click here to hear about the various Symposium registration options, and here for more info. 

Last but not least:  Do you have a client who wants a green roof, rain garden, rainwater harvesting system, or an aquatic habitat (garden pond, pond-less water feature, or waterfall)? Or, perhaps you have always wanted one of these ecological elements in your own landscape. For the cost of materials alone, you or your client could take advantage of Ecological Landscape Alliance (ELA) member professional expertise and free installation by participating as a project site for an upcoming ELA Eco-Workshop. For more information and to nominate a project for consideration, please contact Trevor Smith at trevscape@comcast.net.  [On a related note: now posted online are archived versions of the ELA’s A Focus on Sustainability webinar series, which included 11 webinars. Among the webinars that were recorded and are now available online include: Tools and Equipment for the Management of Invasive Species in Natural Areas; Invasive Plants: What Follows Success; Landscaping at the Water’s Edge An Ecological Approach; and Edible Native Plants for Your Landscape.]

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Online Resources
(Descriptive text provided is obtained from the web pages themselves.)

In case you haven’t already heard, last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army finalized the Clean Water Rule,clarifying federal jurisdiction over waterways subject to the provisions of the Clean Water Act. The Rule is intended to “clearly protect from pollution and degradation the streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. Because the health of tributaries and headwaters impacts the waterways downstream, the Rule strengthens protection for small streams and wetlands feeding into larger waterways.  A Clean Water Act permit is only needed if a water is going to be polluted or destroyed.” Click here to read the press release, here to read the full Rule (it is 297 pages long), and here to read the Statement of the President accompanying the release of the Rule.   Click here to access a series of factsheets highlighting the importance of the Clean Water Rule to various stakeholders, and here for other documents relating to the Clean Water Rule.  

Resources for Local Officials and Community Members, a web page recently launched by the EPA, is “designed to be a one-stop directory for local officials and community members seeking to address today’s complex environmental issues at the local level. The site combines resources that help local governments with compliance and other environmental management issues as well as assist with revitalization and economic growth efforts. The website also provides tools to help local leaders protect their community’s health and access funding opportunities”.

The EPA’s Local Climate and Energy Program has recently developed a suite of resources that provide practical steps for communities to take climate action. These resources, written for communities by communities, were developed using climate and energy program best practices proven in the field. The Local Climate Action Framework is an online guide that helps local governments reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change impacts in their community. A series of Tip Sheets highlight best practices to implement climate and energy programs and a Model Design Guide assists with long term solutions. Click here to read a blog post that discusses these valuable community resources in more detail.  [See also the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.]

Green Infrastructure and the Sustainable Communities Initiative, a report published earlier this year by the EPA, shares the green infrastructure best practices and outputs of the EPA’s Sustainable Communities Initiative grantees. As part of EPA’s commitment under the Green Infrastructure Collaborative, the report features 30 grantees that have incorporated green infrastructure strategies and projects within their Community Challenge and Regional Planning grants. Grantee profiles describe EPA-funded planning projects and discuss how green infrastructure investments advance communities’ economic, environmental and infrastructure goals. [Click here to learn about upcoming and archived webcasts in the EPA’s Green Infrastructure webcast series.]

This past Earth Day (April 22), the EPA announced the most recent winners of its annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a design competition to engage college and university students in reinventing water infrastructure. Student teams proposed innovative green infrastructure designs to reduce stormwater pollution and develop sustainable communities. More than 60 teams participated, and the winning designs proposed innovative additions to their respective campuses that would reduce stormwater impacts while providing educational and recreational opportunities.  The first-place teams received a $2,000 cash award, and the second-place teams received $1,000. EPA plans to conduct the challenge again in the fall of 2015. Click here to learn more about the Challenge, including the most recent award-winning designs as well as info on previous years’ winning designs.  

“The resilience of U.S. coastal communities to storms, flooding, erosion and other threats can be strengthened when they are protected by natural infrastructure such as marshes, reefs, and beaches, or with hybrid approaches, such as a ‘living shoreline’: a combination of natural habitat and built infrastructure, according to a new NOAA study entitled Future of our coasts: The potential for natural and hybrid infrastructure to enhance the resilience of our coastal communities, economies and ecosystems. The study, published in Environmental Science and Policy, assesses reports and peer-reviewed studies on the strengths and weaknesses of using built infrastructure, such as seawalls or dikes, natural infrastructure, or approaches which combine both. The study focuses on how these approaches help coastal communities reduce their risk of flooding and erosion, as well as additional benefits, and the tradeoffs when decision makers choose one type over another.  “When making coastal protection decisions, it’s important to recognize that built infrastructure only provides benefits when storms are approaching, but natural and hybrid systems provide additional benefits, including opportunities for fishing and recreation, all the time,” said Ariana Sutton-Grier, Ph.D., the study’s lead author, member of the research faculty at University of Maryland and NOAA’s National Ocean Service ecosystem science adviser. “Natural and hybrid systems can also improve water quality, provide habitat for many important species, and mitigate carbon going into our atmosphere.” Click here for more info.

The Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays)’s new online Estuary Viewer provides an interactive map for each of the 47 embayments in the Mass. Bays coastal region to help visualize and compare the location of stressors (like road crossings and wastewater discharges) with resources (such as bird nesting sites or shellfish beds).  Click here to access the viewer and for instructions on how to use it. [Click here to read MassBay’s Spring 2015 Newsletter, which includes info on upcoming events and updates on coastal restoration projects, and here for info on this past April’s “State of the Bays” Symposium.]

Set up by the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Massachusetts Park Watch is a statewide program designed to protect public open space by promoting safe and environmentally sound use of local parkland. Concerned volunteers work cooperatively with park rangers and police to recognize and report suspicious activity in and around park areas. Volunteers provide useful information to park managers and local law enforcement agencies by serving as additional “eyes and ears”.  Members of Park Watch report any illegal or suspicious activity to DCR Park Rangers or State Police; the number to call (toll-free) is 1-866-PK-WATCH [(866) 759-2824]. Illegal or suspicious behavior can include: vandalism; ground fires; dogs off leash; illegal dumping; consumption of alcohol; motorized vehicles on trails; or camping or park use after dusk. Call the Mass. DCR Bureau of Ranger Services (617) 626-4963 to enlist in, or for more info about, Park Watch. [At least one Massachusetts community, Plymouth, has taken the ParkWatch concept one step further by enrolling in the ParkWatchReport program, where citizens can report violations to the town utilizing a smartphone app (click here for more info). [Click here to download a two-page document with tips on why and how to engage volunteers in citizen science projects, from The Stewardship Network: New England.]

Speaking  of smartphone apps: the newMass. State Parks Adventure Guide App, powered by the PocketRanger platform (which provides a similar tool for many other state park systems), this free app (available for both Apple and Android devices) enables prospective park visitors to decide which park to visit using a comprehensive list of activities, search for nearby parks, or parks within a particular region. Advanced GPS Map technology invites users to track trails, mark waypoints, and locate landmarks in the great outdoors, while interactive features guide users through the parks and keep them informed.  The tool can also be used to cache maps even when no mobile reception is available (click on this video to learn more).

Wildlife lands owned and managed by the Mass. Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) are protected primarily to provide habitat for wildlife and to give people a place to relax and explore the great outdoors. For the most part, wildlife lands are open to hunting, fishing, trapping, birdwatching, and other wildlife-related recreation. Wildlife lands, including all Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), can now be viewed using MassWildlife’s new Wildlands Viewer tool.  The Wildlands Viewer replaces the official printed maps; however, maps can be customized and printed using the Viewer. The Wildlands Viewer will help prepare you to explore these properties with your rod and reel, bow, gun, knapsack, canoe, camera, or binoculars! Users will find unmarked trails or woods roads with simple, unpaved parking lots. Many of these properties are actively managed through mowing, cutting, prescribed burns, or other activities that benefit fish and wildlife. Regulations govern the activities allowed on these lands and focus on passive recreation.” Click here for more info.  

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Non-government On-line Resources

(in rough alphabetical order – the following are offered for information purposes only and are not an endorsement of the items listed below. Descriptive text provided is obtained from the web pages themselves.)

Birds of North America Field Guide - https://www.audubon.org/field-guide

The National Audubon Society’s completely-reworked online bird guide, the Birds of North America Field Guide features text by renowned bird authority Kenn Kaufman, illustrations by Massachusetts-based ornithologist David Allen Sibley, and dazzling new photography of more than 800 North American birds (not to mention recorded songs and sounds for almost every one of them). Also available, at Audubon.org/birds-of-america, are gorgeously-rich scans of every one of John James Audubon’s Birds of America watercolors, all available for free download.  Last but not least, check out the interactive map and other info about Important Bird Areas (IBAs). There are at least three dozen IBAs in Massachusetts (click here for more info).  [See also eNature’s Migration Tracker, with info on migrating bird species for various times and regions, including the northeast U.S.]

DAF Direct - http://www.dafdirect.org

DAF Direct’s mission is “to support nonprofits by providing a cost-efficient and simple way for donors to give, and nonprofits to receive grants”. DAF Direct “offers a free, easy-to-install web application that enables donors to charitable organizations to initiate grant recommendations from their Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) directly from your website or online fundraising campaigns. DAF Direct helps nonprofits connect with potential DAF donors at the exact moment they are researching and interacting with your organization online.” While, at present, the DAF Direct tool currently facilitates grant recommendations only from Fidelity and Schwab- managed DAFs, more national and community foundation donor-advised fund sponsoring organizations may be added in the future.  Your organization can enable donations via the installation of a DAF Direct widget or a DAF Direct link on your website.  In either case, DAF Direct charges no processing or transaction fees. Massachusetts conservation groups already utilizing this tool include Mass. Audubon and the Essex County Greenbelt Association. Click here, here or here for more info.

Digital Commonwealth - https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org

This site provides access to photographs, manuscripts, books, audio recordings, and other materials of historical interest that have been digitized and made available by the 130 member institutions of Digital Commonwealth, a statewide consortium of libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies from across Massachusetts. Digital Commonwealth provides resources and services to support the creation, management, and dissemination of cultural heritage materials held by Massachusetts libraries, museums, historical societies, and archives.  This site provides access to thousands of images, documents, and sound recordings that have been digitized by member institutions so that they may be available to researchers, students, and the general public. [See, e.g., a “Scene on the Spicket River at Methuen, Mass.” historic post card; a photo of the “Elk” sightseeing boat on the Charles River; and a “Deerfield Valley, along the Mohawk Trail, Mass.” historic post card.] See also DSpace, maintained by the State Library of Massachusetts, a repository of electronic documents (such as archived versions of DER’s Ebb&Flow newsletter).

Foundation Maps - https://maps.foundationcenter.org

Launched by the Foundation Center last October, the Foundation Maps platform shows, through maps and charts, who is funding what and where around the world, helping funders and other nonprofits understand the philanthropic landscape and acquire the insights that inform strategic decision making. It is available by subscription and free access and serves as the basis for a variety of barter and custom projects. The recently-released Foundation Maps Professional 2.0 has incorporated two new major features. The geographic “Area Served” functionality now outlines on maps the places where grant dollars are targeted apart from the locations of organizations receiving the grants. “Constellations” is a new hub-and-spokes view of the philanthropic universe that reveals funder-grantee networks in an innovative visual format. Foundation Maps Professional 2.0 offers a variety of interactive maps, charts, and other visualizations that, when combined with robust search and filtering options, creates a picture of almost any slice of philanthropy a user can conceive. It currently includes more than 3 million grants made by 38,000 foundations to 350,000 recipients, and new data is added every week. Foundation Center offers a 24-hour free trial of Foundation Maps Professional 2.0 and a series of free monthly webinar demonstrations. Click here for more info.  

GivingPlace360 - http://good360.org/how-it-works

Recently established by Good360, a national nonprofit organization that connects companies who have goods with nonprofits who need them, the new GivingPlace360 platform connects nonprofits, companies, and individuals in one place, allowing Good360 and all of its partners to do more good together in a clear and transparent way. Your organization can tell your story via images and videos that show the work you do, create a Wishlist, and your supporters will be notified automatically when your Wishlist is published. Click here for general info and here for why and how your nonprofit can participate in this program.

HipCamp - http://www.hipcamp.com

Described as “a ‘Kayak’-style website for campers”, the HipCamp website puts all the information a camper might need in one place. Want to find a campground in a forest in the Berkshires that allows pets, has a grill, showers and picnic tables? You can tailor your search depending on your needs. HipCamp “is the only place you can go that lists campgrounds across all government platforms (national parks, state parks, national forests, etc.). Right now, the site has searchable information on 351 parks, 1,985 campgrounds and 52,597 campsites. They are also working on increasing access to private land for campers. Also, like Yelp, Hipcamp relies on users to give the on-ground experience. They can upload photos and tips directly to the site. To streamline the process even further, some campsites can be booked directly on HipCamp, a feature they are working to make available across the nation. [See also Access Land, a coalition made up of HipCamp, the Sierra Club, REI and Code for America, that is advocating for a more open system to help people connect with their parks.]

How to Depave: The Guide To Freeing Your Soil - http://depave.org/learn/how-to-depave

Paved surfaces contribute to stormwater pollution, whereby rainwater carries toxic urban pollutants to local streams and rivers, greatly degrading water quality and riparian habitats. Pavement also disconnects us from our natural world. In response, a burgeoning, grassroots-based “depave” movement has arisen, where citizens take up picks and sledgehammers to pry up superfluous pavement and restore the soil.  The link above enables you to download an 18-page guide prepared by the Portland, OR-based group Depave based on their experience with many projects.  [See also a recent article on depaving on Resilience.org and a slideshow about the Depave Somerville initiative.]

LinkedIn for Nonprofits - https://nonprofit.linkedin.com

While the LinkedIn platform is ordinarily thought of in a business context, nonprofit organizations can make good use of the tool as well. Nonprofits can create free company pages on LinkedIn to create more visibility for their brand, engage and communicate with their members and followers, show the value of their organization, and gain more members and donors. Nonprofits can also share and find volunteer opportunities through LinkedIn for Volunteers, and find board members through LinkedIn Board Connect, a program that helps nonprofit leaders find high quality professionals to join their boards (click here to read a blog posting and view a video about that program). Last but not least, the LinkedIn platform is used to host many discussion groups (see, e.g., those for the Ecological Landscape AllianceRiver Restoration Professionals, Stream Restoration Professionals, and the Dam Removal  and Fish Passage Network.) [See also 4 Simple Steps To Growing Your Membership With LinkedIn; click here and here to read two articles from Third Sector New England about why and how nonprofits should be using LinkedIn; and check out Taproot+ and this article for other services that links nonprofits with skilled volunteers.]

MassTrails - http://masstrails.com/index.html

Created two years ago in response to what its developers perceived to be an unfilled need,  the MassTrails website   tells you about the places in each Massachusetts town where you can get away from vehicle traffic and walk, bike, hike, etc. While are many websites out there where you can find places to go, the mission of MassTrails is to tell you about the natural places (i.e., other than manicured city parks) in and around your location, or anywhere else in the Commonwealth you would like to explore.  Users simply enter a town’s name on the home page and then look through the results (see, e.g., examples for Pittsfield, Pepperell and Plymouth), which will include links to (printable) local trail maps, and, where available, brochures with more detailed info, such as which activities are permitted on which trails and properties.  There is also page specifically devoted to rail trails.  

Reimagining Infrastructure - https://orionmagazine.org/reimagining-infrastructure

“Once a point of national pride and identity, America’s infrastructure is showing its age. Even in their heyday, the big infrastructure projects of the past were not always mindful of the communities in which they were built, nor did they reflect or respect the realities of life on a finite planet. But this is a finite planet, and many communities are imagining new systems and structures for transportation, food, water, waste, energy, and information. In the process, they’re creating new, more beautiful, more resilient public works.” A project of the Great Barrington, MA-based OrionMagazine, the Reimagining Infrastructure website contains articles, audio slide shows, poetry and other resources describing innovations in revitalizing infrastructure and communities. See, e.g., The City and the Sea, which describes the post-Sandy effort to strengthen New York City’s natural resilience through ecological restoration, and the Concrete Progress blog, which includes an entry about a parking lot that doubles as a sponge.

Revitalization News - http://revitalizationnews.com/

Launched this past April and published by motivational speaker Storm Cunningham, Revitalization News is a twice-per-month online “magazine of Urban/Rural Regeneration, Nature Restoration, and Economic Resilience, serving public/private leaders, educators, investors, philanthropists and volunteers.” Articles published in Revitalization News include:  Hartford: The revitalizing power of restoring urban water; Can a whitewater park boost both an economy & river health?; Public park in Silver Spring, MD restores urban stream; and Restoring Natural Capital: A climate adaptation strategy.  Click here to see the various, reasonably priced, subscription options.

Saving Paradise Video Series - http://www.apcc.org/videos/index.html

Created by the Association for the Preservation of Cape Cod (APCC) and produced by Undercurrent Productions, this video series is intended to educate the public on the issues and potential solutions for Cape Cod’s wastewater challenge.  Recently posted to the website is Video 3: Sea Level Rise: Changing Cape Cod’s Groundwater. “Sea level rise is threatening Cape Cod’s coastline, but the impacts are not always visible. Funded by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, the APCC teamed up with the US Geological Survey and the Cape Cod Commission to map and model how rising seas are causing groundwater to rise under our feet. As USGS Hydrologist Peter Weiskel puts it, this could be called ‘an inundation from below’ study.” [See also Water for Oysters and Cape Cod’s Water at Risk, the previous two videos in the “Saving Paradise” series, and click here for additional APCC videos.]

StoryCorps Mobile App - https://storycorps.me

Seeking to extend its reach beyond StoryCorps’ traditional Public Radio audience, the StoryCorps app is “an app with a purpose: a way for individuals to connect in a meaningful way with those close to them, and to gain insight into the lives of others”. Currently in “public beta” mode, the new StoryCorps app and the accompanying StoryCorps.me website were created as a global platform for listening, connecting, and sharing stories of the human experience. The StoryCorps app “seamlessly walks users through an interview by providing all the necessary tools for a wonderful experience. You will receive help preparing questions, finding the right environment for your conversation, recording a high-quality interview on your mobile device, sharing the finished product with friends and family, and uploading your conversation to the StoryCorps.me website.” Click here to view an introductory video and here to read an article describing how nonprofit organizations have utilized StoryCorps to help advance their missions. [Click here for info on several archived webinars about nonprofit groups’ usage of storytelling, here to download the Nonprofit Storytelling Field Guide & Journal, and here to access Your Storytelling Questions Answered and related materials from NetworkforGood’s marketing blog.]

The Nature of Cities (TNOC) - http://www.thenatureofcities.com

TNOC “is a virtual magazine and discussion site on cities as ecosystems. It is a global collective of contributors, an essay, long-form, media,  and discussion site (‘idea hive’) devoted to cities as social-ecological spaces, ecosystems of people, buildings, open spaces, and nature. We believe that city design with nature and public open space at the metaphorical center is key to urban resilience, sustainability, and livability.”  TNOC contributors include activists, designers, biologists, ecologists, sociologists, economists, artists, architects, landscape architects, nature writers, leaders of community organizations, public space managers, lawyers, and leaders in international organizations.   Items recently posted here include thoughtful articles about Daylighting and restoring urban streams, ponds and wetlands; Reconnecting People with Nature through Design; and Birds: Iconic Emissaries of urban nature.  Click here for more info. 

The Outside Story - http://northernwoodlands.org/outside_story

A project of the Center for Northern Woodlands Education, publisher of Northern Woodlands magazine, The Outside Story is a series of weekly ecology articles that have been appearing in newspapers across New Hampshire and Vermont since 2002 (click here to read a recent article on vernal pools). Previous The Outside Story columns available online include ones on such topics as: the benefits of vegetated riparian buffers and un-damming our rivers; the operation and impact of septic systems; threats to the American Eel; coldwater streams and trout, including the importance of wood to trout streams, the vulnerability of small streams to low flows and the impact of forests on streamflow; and how to distinguish a bog from a swamp, fen or seep.  

Wildlife Garden Academy - http://wildlifegardenacademy.com

Maintained by conservation biologist Carole Sevilla Brown, the Wildlife Garden Academy “is dedicated to bringing you the most comprehensive education about the best native plants for your wildlife garden, how to create welcoming habitat for wildlife in your garden, attracting birds to your garden, how to create a butterfly garden, attracting native pollinators, and so much more”. Resources at this webpage include online courses on ecosystem gardening for wildlife and an opportunity to join the Wren Song online community, which offers many resources, including the Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens blog.

WorthWild - http://www.worthwild.com

WorthWild “is a crowdfunding platform built with the environmentally-conscious individual and organizations in mind. We champion conservation efforts, eco businesses, environmental educators and projects. We believe in embracing technology and harnessing connections to rally behind good ideas. If it’s good for the planet, it’s good for us all, and that’s the inspiration behind our work. We’ll always do an initial consultation at no charge because it gives you peace of mind and allows us an opportunity to share the features we think you’ll benefit from most.” Campaigns utilizing WorthWild include one by the Sudbury Valley Trustees for the Tri-Town Landscape Protection Project, an effort to protect at least 500 contiguous acres of ecologically sensitive wildlife habitat, working farms, and important forestland around Mount Pisgah in the towns of Berlin, Boylston, and Northborough, and one by the Boston Green Academy to install a “hydration station” at the school to enable students to easily refill reusable bottles with Boston’s highly-rated tap water, instead of relying on drinking water from 5-gallon plastic jugs. Click here to read WorthWild’s FAQ page.

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Publications, Videos, etc.

(the following are offered for information purposes only and are not an endorsement of the items listed below. Descriptive text provided is obtained from the web pages themselves.)

“Every spring, for thousands of years, the rivers that empty into the North Atlantic Ocean turn silver with migrating fish. Among the crowded schools once swam the King of Fish, the Atlantic salmon. From New York to Labrador, from Russia to Portugal, sea-bright salmon defied current, tide, and gravity, driven inland by instinct and memory to the very streams where they themselves emerged from gravel nests years before. The salmon pools and rivers of Maine achieved legendary status among anglers and, since 1912, it was tradition that the first salmon caught in the Penobscot River each spring was presented to the President of the United States. The last salmon presented was in 1992, to George W. Bush. That year, the Penobscot counted more than 70 percent of the salmon returns on the entire Eastern seaboard, yet that was only two percent of the river’s historic populations. Dams, commercial fishing, and environmental degradation had decimated Atlantic salmon populations in their home waters. The President’s Salmon: Restoring the King of Fish and its Home Waters, written by Catherine Schmitt and due out this summer by DownEast Books, presents a rich cultural and biological history of the Atlantic salmon and the salmon fishery, primarily revolving around the Penobscot River, the last stronghold for the salmon in America and the stage for the preservation of the species.” [Click here to read a moving excerpt of the book that recently appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine.]

“Why should you care about Millennials (aka Generation Y) now? Young supporters represent the leading edge of technology adoption and online behavior. If you want to know where donor engagement is heading, look to Millennials to understand how all generations are evolving. Of course, Millennials are also active donors, advocates, and volunteers in their own right. The Millennial Donor Playbook: How young donors are influencing change across organizations and generations, a 20-page e-book available for free download from Network for Good, will help you learn why Millennials may be your cause’s secret weapon.  It will also teach you how to inspire these supporters to become recurring givers, advocates, and peer fundraisers for your mission, as well as provide tips for communicating with and retaining young donors.”  Click here to download the book.

“Reading The Ultimate Insider's Guide to Winning Foundation Grants: A Foundation CEO Reveals the Secrets You Need to Know is like peeking at someone’s secret diary or personal email.  You feel guilty.  This is privileged information.  Only, in this case, Martin Teitel WANTS to reveal everything to you. A long-time foundation CEO, he’s fed up with the smoke and mirrors of grant seeking.  As head of the Boston-based Cedar Tree Foundation, Teitel dispensed tens of millions of dollars in grants. He knows the secrets, the preferred approaches, the red flags - and he wants you to know them, too. He’s committed to leveling the playing field. Teitel’s book takes you behind the scenes to show you exactly what foundation insiders look for in proposals; exposes seven misguided myths about foundations; offers you literally dozens of do’s and don’ts when developing your proposal; and  offers courageously frank answers to questions we’ve all longed to ask foundations.” Click here to order the book or for more info. [Click here to read an excerpt of the book, here to read an interview with Teitel about the book, and here to read The Portal Problem: Three Keys to the Funder's Door, an article by Teitel recently posted to the Guidestar website; and here for a video on a related topic.]

Community Based Public-Private Partnerships (CBP3) and Alternative Market-Based Tools for Integrated Green Stormwater Infrastructure: A Guide for Local Governments recently released by the EPA, identifies tools to help communities address water quality challenges through faster, cheaper, and greener methods. Experts from a variety of sectors provided input on topics such as public infrastructure financing, green infrastructure design/delivery, economic development, renewable energy and military housing. It introduces the CBP3 approach as a means of implementing green infrastructure to meet a variety of regulatory and community needs. The guide is intended for a variety of audiences, including lawyers, finance specialists, P3 experts, public officials, economic developers, stormwater and green infrastructure practitioners/ managers, decision makers and regulators. Click here to download the document.

Rural By Design: Planning for Town and Country, by New England-based planner  Randall Arendt and recently published by the American Planning Association, “provides an unparalleled resource for practicing planners, members of local boards and commissions.  A comprehensive reference book, it is filled with useful material and examples that are easily understood and ready to be applied in day-to-day planning in the suburbanizing parts of metropolitan regions, and beyond.  The second edition of a book originally published two decades ago, Rural by Design contains entirely new chapters on form-based coding, visioning, sustainability, low-impact development, green infrastructure networks, and transfers of development rights. It also expands coverage of town centers, commercial corridors, housing options, village and hamlet planning, and individual case studies. Additional new topics addressed include complete streets, pocket neighborhoods, official mapping, gateway planning, redeveloping commercial corridors, mitigation banking, vernal pool protection, waterway daylighting, and restoring wetlands, grasslands, woodlands, and floodplains. At the same time, fact-filled chapters providing relevant information on nitty-gritty issues such as street design, stormwater management, affordable housing, and farmland preservation have been retained and substantially updated. Greenways provide connectivity within ecological systems and provide linkages within and among human settlements. The best land-use plans are therefore based on greenways, with communities designed with nature and for people. Greenway planning, in its broadest sense, is therefore a recurring theme of this new edition. As noted in chapter 8, this enlightened approach can be easily integrated into both new urban planning and conservation design.”  Click here to order the book or for more info. 

Building Healthy Places Toolkit: Strategies for Enhancing Health in the Built Environment, recently-released by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) with the assistance of the Center for Active Design, “outlines 21 evidence-based recommendations the development community can use to promote health at the building or project scale. The recommendations, based on the latest documentation of the need for and impact of building for health, were formulated to help developers, owners, property managers, designers, and investors understand opportunities to integrate health-promoting practices into real estate development. The report’s 21 ‘gold star’ recommendations for promoting health at the building or project scale are organized into to three categories: Physical Activity; Healthy Food and Drinking Water; and Healthy Environment and Social Well-Being.  Click here to download or order a print copy of the Toolkit or to view related info, including a poster highlighting the 21 recommendations.

In Creating Green Roadways: Integrating Cultural, Natural, and Visual Resources into Transportation, published by Island Press, authors James and Matthew Sipes “examine traditional, utilitarian methods of transportation planning that have resulted in a host of negative impacts, from urban sprawl and congestion to loss of community identity and excess air and water pollution. They offer a better approach: one that blends form and function. Creating Green Roadways covers topics including transportation policy, the basics of green road design, including an examination of complete streets, public involvement, road ecology, and the economics of sustainable roads. Case studies from metropolitan, suburban, and rural transportation projects around the country, along with numerous photographs, illustrate what makes a project successful.” Click here to order the book or for more info, and here to download a related (large file - 178 MB) PowerPoint presentation.

“Rain is a resource that should be valued and celebrated, not merely treated as an urban design problem – and yet, traditional stormwater treatment methods often range from ugly to forgettable. The new book Artful Rainwater Design: Creative Ways to Manage Stormwater, also published by Island Press, shows that it’s possible to effectively manage runoff while also creating inviting, attractive landscapes.  This beautifully illustrated, comprehensive guide explains how to design creative, yet practical, landscapes that treat on-site stormwater management as an opportunity to enhance site design. The book outlines five amenity-focused goals that might be highlighted in a project: education, recreation, safety, public relations, and aesthetic appeal. Next, it focuses on techniques for ecologically sustainable stormwater management that complement the amenity goals. Finally, it features diverse case studies that show how designers around the country are implementing principles of artful rainwater design. Artful Rainwater Design is a must-have resource for landscape architects, urban designers, civil engineers, and architects who won't let stormwater regulations cramp their style, and who understand that for a design to truly be sustainable, people must appreciate and love it. It is a tool for creating landscapes that celebrate rain for the life-giving resource it is—and contribute to more sustainable, healthy, and even fun, built environments.”

Annie Leonard and others responsible for The Story of Stuff, The Story of Bottled Water and seven other short animated movie, recently released a two-minute animated “explainer” that tells the story of microbeads. The Story of Stuff Project’s previous videos have become viral sensations, garnering more than 45 million views online.  The new video was released to support growing efforts in the U.S., Canada, Europe and elsewhere to outlaw the tiny plastic beads, an increasingly common ingredient in personal care products that escapes most water treatment plants and pollutes the environment. Microbeads, which can be found in everything from facial scrubs and soap to toothpaste and makeup, have become ubiquitous. They show up on ingredient labels under their material names: polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate or polymethyl methacrylate. And they have been found in more than 35 samples of wastewater effluent across the U.S., according to the Story of Stuff Project. The video debuts on the heels of UN scientists’ call for action on marine microplastics and dozens of U.S. states consider bills to ban microbeads. The Story of Stuff Project has been working with a broad coalition of more than 100 groups to support a ban at state and national levels. Click here to view the video and here to take action on this issue.

Greenway Heroes: Profiles in Land Conservation, a recently-released 10-minute film produced by Pepperell resident Sue Edwards and co-directed by Westford resident Joy Reo, tells the inspiring stories of three landowners in the Nashua River watershed donated, sold or set up conservation easements to protect their family land for the common good.  The film features interviews with Harley Holden of Shirley, Massachusetts, Tom Jarvela of Stratham, New Hampshire, and Leigh Hudson of Princeton, Massachusetts. Also interviewed is citizen leader and Nashua River advocate, Marion Stoddart” [the star of Edwards’ previous, award-winning film project, The Work of 1000].  The purpose of Greenway Heroes is to inspire other private landowners along the Nashua River and its tributaries to conserve their land to enable a continuous corridor of protected open space along both sides of these rivers. While this film is focused on the Nashua watershed, its inspiring message is worthy of emulation elsewhere. Visit the Greenway Heroes website to view the film or for more info.

The Butterflies of Massachusetts, the result of over two decades of extensive research coordinated by Massachusetts-based lepidopterist Sharon Stichter, and (until recently) available online only as a website, is now available for purchase in print and Compact Disc formats.  The Butterflies of Massachusetts is based on extensive naturalist records, museum specimens and historical literature, and covers all species normally occurring in the state.   It provides: up-to-date state distribution maps and abundance estimates based on 1992-2013 data; discussion of historical changes since the 19th century; state-specific host plant, habitat and location information; state-specific flight data, including earliest and latest sightings and flight advancement; and conservation assessments and recommendations.  Click here to order The Butterflies of Massachusetts in book form, and, to order The Butterflies of Massachusetts CD, send your name, mailing address, and a check for $14 made out to Sharon Stichter to: Butterflies of Massachusetts, 108 Walden St., Cambridge, MA 02140.  Allow at least 3 weeks for delivery.

“American children spend four to seven minutes a day playing outdoors – 90 percent less time than their parents did. Yet recent research indicates that experiences in nature are essential for healthy growth. Regular exposure to nature can help relieve stress, depression, and attention deficits. It can reduce bullying, combat illness, and boost academic scores.  Most critical of all, abundant time in nature seems to yield long-term benefits in kids’ cognitive, emotional, and social development. Yet teachers, parents, and other caregivers lack a basic understanding of how to engender a meaningful, lasting connection between children and the natural world. How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature, written by dinosaur paleontologist and science communicator Scott D. Sampson, reveals how adults can help kids fall in love with nature, enlisting technology as an ally, taking advantage of urban nature, and instilling a sense of place along the way.  Sampson explains how parents can become ‘nature mentors’ and make a determined effort to change not only their children’s habits but their own”. [Click here to read an interview with the author and here to hear an hour devoted to this topic that recently aired on WBUR’s OnPoint radio program.] 

Written by Barbara Brennessel and illustrated by Marisa Picariello, The Adventures of Allie the Alewife, is a recently-published children’s book suitable for ages 4-8. Published in cooperation with the Wellfleet, MA-based Friends of Herring River, the book “tells the story of a juvenile river herring named Allie who joins her friends at the end of summer to make their way from their natal pond down a river and into the open ocean. When they get older, they make another big journey; as part of the annual spring migration, they travel from the ocean back to their natal pond to spawn. Along the way Allie and her friends encounter several obstacles, but a river restoration project helps them make it back.” Click here to order the book or for more info. [For adult readers, you might prefer The Alewives’ Tale: The Life History and Ecology of River Herring in the Northeast - The struggle to save a dramatically declining species, published by UMass Press in 2014 and also written by Brennessel.]

“To many, Cape Cod represents the classic setting for an American summer vacation. Attracting seasonal tourists with picturesque beaches and abundant seafood, the Cape has held a place in our national imagination for almost two hundred years. People have been drawn to its beauty and resources since Native Americans wandered up its long sandy peninsula some 12,000 years ago, while writers such as Henry David Thoreau and Norman Mailer have celebrated its mystery and allure. But, despite its idealized image, Cape Cod has a long history of scarcity and an increasingly evident fragility. In Cape Cod: An Environmental History of a Fragile Ecosystem - The history of a beautiful yet vulnerable New England region, also published last year by UMass Press, author John T. Cumbler offers an environmental, social, and economic history of Cape Cod told through the experiences of residents as well as visitors. He notes that over the past four hundred years the Cape has experienced three regimes of resource utilization. The first regime of Native Americans who lived relatively lightly on the land was supplanted by European settlers who focused on production and extraction. This second regime began in the age of sail but declined through the age of steam as the soil and seas failed to yield the resources necessary to sustain continuing growth. Environmental and then economic crises during the second half of the nineteenth century eventually gave way to the third regime of tourism and recreation. But this regime has its own environmental costs, as residents have learned over the last half century.

Although the Cape remains a special place, its history of resource scarcity and its attempts to deal with that scarcity offer useful lessons for anyone addressing similar issues around the globe.” [Click here to read a favorable editorial about the book recently appearing in the Cape Cod Times.]  

Henry David Thoreau was just a few days short of his twenty-eighth birthday when he built a cabin on the shore of Walden Pond and began one of the most famous experiments in living in American history. Originally he was not, apparently, intending to write a book about his life at the pond, but nine years later, in August of 1854, Houghton Mifflin's predecessor, Ticknor and Fields, published Walden; or, a Life in the Woods. At the time the book was largely ignored, and it took five years to sell out the first printing of two thousand copies. It was not until 1862, the year of Thoreau’s death, that the book was brought back into print, and it has never been out of print since. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing recently put out a 150th Anniversary Illustrated Edition of Walden, coinciding with the Walden Woods Project’s 25th anniversary.  The book features a new introduction by Walden Woods Project founder Don Henley, and contains spectacular Walden Pond/ Walden Woods images by photographer Scot Miller, coupled with Thoreau’s complete text. For each copy sold, the publisher and photographer are making a donation to the Walden Woods Project.  Click here or call (781) 259-4703 to order the book or for more info.   

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NOTE: The Mass. Watershed Coalition(MWC)’s “mwc-list” listserv, a great source of time-sensitive and other info on river- and watershed-related funding and job opportunities, upcoming events, recent articles and more, is now back in operation, having migrated from its former host (topica.com) to simplelists.com.   Click here to sign up. Highly recommended!  In the meantime, archived messages posted to the topica.com-hosted  “mwc-list” listserv are still accessible  and readable by anyone by clicking here.  You might also want to check out the MWC’s Runoff Remedies blog

Coordinated by the Mass. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), The Great Outdoors Blog is dedicated to Massachusetts outdoor activities, events, wildlife, state parks and local agriculture that features a calendar of Massachusetts outdoor events. Learn about native marsh species, guides for the state’s best paddling adventures, and about wetlands restoration projects that protect recreational and commercial fisheries.  [Click here for more about how to connect to EEA, DER and other state environmental programs through social media.]  


Last but not least :

The Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) provides funding to many river, wetland 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 “Right Whale and Roseate Tern” plate (click here, see p. 13), sales of the “Fish and Wildlife” plate (click here, see p.12), depicting a Brook Trout, and the Blackstone Valley plates (click here, see p.10) help fund MET’s grant-making programs. (By the way, these three are he only Mass. specialty license plates that exclusively fund environmental programs). Getting an environmental plate is easy and can be done on-line by clicking here, or in person at your local Registry of Motor Vehicles office.

Does your car have an environmental license plate?


Division of Ecological Restoration Staff:       

Tim Purinton, Director 
Hunt Durey, Deputy Director 
Carrie Banks
, Stream Team and Westfield River Wild and Scenic Committee Coordinator
Tim Chorey, Stream Continuity Specialist 
Russell Cohen,
Rivers Advocate 
Michelle Craddock,
Flow Restoration Specialist   
Cindy Delpapa,
Stream Ecologist 
Kristen Ferry,
Aquatic Habitat Restoration Specialist 
Eileen Goldberg,
Assistant Director 
Alex Hackman,
Project Manager  
Franz Ingelfinger,
Restoration Ecologist   
Georgeann Keer,
Wetland Scientist and Project Manager 
Beth Lambert,
River Restoration Program Manager 
Laila Parker,
Flow Restoration Program Manager 
Megan Sampson,
Program Administrator 
Nick Wildman,
Priority Projects Coordinator


Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Charles D. Baker, Governor
Karyn E. Polito, Lieutenant Governor
Matthew A. Beaton, Secretary, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
George N. Peterson, Jr., Commissioner, Department of Fish and Game
Mary-Lee King, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Fish and Game

Division of Ecological Restoration (DER)
251 Causeway St. Suite 400
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 626-1540


► To subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, e-mail russ.cohen@state.ma.us  

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