Patrick-Murray Administration Releases 2011 Report on Land Protection
BOSTON – Tuesday, June 05, 2012 – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today released a report detailing the Commonwealth’s investments in land protection for fiscal year 2011 – which yielded the protection of 12,953 acres of land across the Commonwealth.
“A great deal of progress has again been made toward the Commonwealth’s land conservation goals and I am proud to present this report that shows yet another successful year of land protection,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “I especially want to thank the land owners and conservation organizations that have partnered with my administration to help advance our goals of land preservation and park creation.”
The Commonwealth’s land protection program is focused on three major goals: building and renovating urban parks, preserving working farms and forests and protecting large natural landscapes for habitat.
“While many states have cut or even eliminated land conservation programs in recent years, here in Massachusetts we have maintained our commitment – even in tough economic times,” said Secretary Sullivan. “Access to open space and preserving our natural infrastructure is vital to the quality of life for residents of the Commonwealth for generations to come.”
With its latest $45 million investment, the Commonwealth has protected the equivalent of about 53 acres per day over the past five years. Land conservation highlights from fiscal year 2011 include:
Completion of 30 park renovation and construction projects in urban communities.
- Creation or retention of more than 200 jobs through the protection of 19,000 acres of farm and forest land.
- Protection of nearly 2,900 acres of priority habitat for rare and endangered species.
- Protection of more than 1,800 acres for clean drinking water.
The largest protected land project was DCR’s acquisition of the 1,430-acre Twining Lakes and the Girl Scouts of Connecticut properties in Tolland. The Patrick-Murray Administration is committed to continuing land preservation efforts in 2012. In May, Governor Patrick celebrated the conservation of the Paul C. Jones Working Forest, 3,486 acres of land in Leverett and Shutesbury, the largest continuous land protection act in the history of the Commonwealth.
Since taking office in 2007, the Patrick-Murray Administration has made a historic $230 million investment in land conservation, leading to the permanent protection of more than 95,000 acres and the creation or renovation of 150 urban parks. The state’s investment has spurred a renaissance in land protection, leveraging about $200 million in funding from other sources such as non-profit organizations and municipalities and benefitting from $5 million in federal funding.