For Immediate Release - February 19, 2014

Patrick Administration Awards $2.9M in Grants for Land Protection

BOSTON – Friday, February 19, 2014 – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today announced two awards totaling more than $2.9 million to help permanently protect more than 1,700 acres of land.

“Under the leadership of Governor Patrick, we have made historic gains in land protection, preserving more than 110,000 acres over the last seven years,” said Secretary Sullivan. “The Landscape Partnership program alone is helping to conserve over 11,000 acres, encouraging strong private-public partnerships to protect this precious space.”

The grants announced today will support partnership projects to be completed over the next 17 months in Amherst, Belchertown, Berlin, Boylston, Granby, Hadley, Northborough, and South Hadley. The projects receiving grants are:

Mount Holyoke Range Protection Project - $1,500,000 – (Kestrel Land Trust, DAR, DCR, towns of Amherst, Belchertown, Granby, Hadley, and South Hadley) - This project will protect a 1,191-acre landscape of local, state, and national significance stretching across the iconic Mount Holyoke Range State Park and prime farmland along the Connecticut River.  The project area includes portions of the New England Scenic Trail, working woodlands and an active farm.  In addition to protecting Core and Critical Natural Landscape areas identified in BioMap2, this landscape has been identified by The Nature Conservancy as one of the state’s most resilient for climate change adaptation.

Tri-Town Landscape Protection Project - $1,472,760 – (Sudbury Valley Trustees, towns of Berlin, Boylston and Northborough) – This project will protect 512 acres in the Mt. Pisgah area, the largest roadless area in the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Rivers watershed.  This is a unique opportunity to protect critical habitat and recreational lands in the fast-growing Metro West "sprawl frontier."  The 14-parcel project area includes two active farms and working forests, and will add substantially to public trail networks.

“I am pleased to see the Commonwealth continue to make investments that protect natural habitats and enhance public access to forests and our other recreational resources," said Senator Marc R. Pacheco, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. "These grants will strengthen agriculture and tourism in the Commonwealth for a more vibrant economy overall."

"Many thanks to the Patrick Administration for making these investments available and congratulations to the communities and organizations working to preserve the character of our rural areas," said Senator Stan Rosenberg.

Through this innovative program, established in 2011, the Patrick Administration is permanently protecting large landscapes with high values for wildlife, drinking water protection, forestry, agriculture and tourism. In addition, the program is implementing the top natural resource recommendation in EEA’sClimate Change Adaptation Report – conservation of large forested tracts that protect wildlife corridors.

To qualify for grants, projects must include at least 500 acres, allow public access and applicants must work in partnership with another entity. The projects receiving grants today include a spectrum of partners: two land trusts, eight municipalities, and two EEA agencies – Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) and Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

EEA designed the Landscape Partnership program to encourage non-governmental organizations, local communities and state environmental agencies to join forces on significant, complex projects that typically require the commitment of many partners, including multiple local organizations and a variety of state programs in order to succeed.

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