For Immediate Release - December 07, 2010

Patrick-Murray Administration Awards Conservation Partnership Grants to Help Land Trusts Protect 374 Acres Across the Commonwealth

Statewide map of all grant recipients.

BOSTON - December 2, 2010 - As part of Governor Patrick's unprecedented commitment to land conservation, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Ian Bowles today announced $485,450 in fiscal year 2011 Conservation Partnership Grants that will enable seven nonprofit organizations to preserve 374 acres of open space from Cape Cod to the hill towns of Western Massachusetts.

"Under the leadership of Governor Patrick, Massachusetts has preserved more than 72,000 acres as parks, farmland and wildlife habitat - contributing to a total of more than 1.2 million acres of protected land throughout the Commonwealth," said Secretary Bowles. "In partnership with land trusts, local officials and community groups, we are preserving for future generations valuable open space and natural resources across Massachusetts."

The $485,450 in funding announced today protects 374 acres of land, including 255 acres of working forest and an island. Conservation Partnership grants are designed to help nonprofit organizations purchase land or interests in land (such as conservation restrictions) for conservation or recreation. Grant recipients must convey a perpetual conservation restriction to either the community where a project exists or to a state agency, and protected property must provide a public benefit. Grants finance no more than half of total project costs.

The awards will fund projects in Arlington, Buckland, Conway, Dennis, Dudley, Mattapoisett, Newbury and West Boylston.

Proposed projects are evaluated and selected based on their ability to conserve biodiversity, protect water quality, promote recreation, and preserve working farms and forests. This year's projects include properties that enlarge or connect to other conservation land, increase opportunity for hiking, other passive recreation and outdoor education, or contain prime agricultural soils or important wildlife habitat. All acquisitions are open to the public for passive recreation.

"This is a great investment in the natural beauty of western Massachusetts," said Senator Stan Rosenberg.

"Massachusetts continues to prioritize the preservation of our beautiful natural resources," said Senator Mark Montigny. "This Conservation Partnership grant will provide funding to ensure that lands suitable for conservation or recreation purposes are protected. This award builds on the momentum of the past four years and makes a promise to younger generations that we care and will invest in open space."

"I applaud this important property acquisition which joins other protected lands to form a significant tract of managed forest land. It will enhance diverse and unique habitats and provide for greater public use and enjoyment of this landscape's resources," said Representative Stephen Kulik.

The seven awards announced today are:

  • Arlington Land Trust (in cooperation with Mass Audubon and the Arlington Boys & Girls Club) - $85,000 to acquire the two-acre Elizabeth Island on Spy Pond in Arlington. Elizabeth Island, zoned for single-family residential development, is the visual and ecological centerpiece of the 103-acre Spy Pond in the densely populated town of Arlington. The pond plays a prominent role in the town's past, is a popular recreational destination, and includes significant bird habitat.

  • The Coalition for Buzzards Bay - $85,000 to protect four acres in Mattapoisett adjacent to last year's Tripps Mill Brook project and part of a larger effort to protect over 350 acres of contiguous undeveloped land in the Mattapoisett River Valley. This acquisition is identified as rare species habitat, has frontage on a tributary of the Mattapoisett River, and is located over the principal drinking water aquifer for Mattapoisett and four surrounding towns.

  • Dennis Conservation Trust - $85,000 for a seven-acre property in Dennis that is one of the few remaining unprotected developable sites in the Quivet Neck/Crowes Pasture District of Critical Planning Concern. The property contains upland and freshwater wetland, including an old cranberry bog that has grown into a blueberry and maple swamp.

  • Dudley Conservation Land Trust (in cooperation with Mass Audubon) - $46,250 for 75 heavily forested acres in Dudley know as Slater Woods, which links Mass Audubon lands to the north and Dudley Conservation Land Trust lands and Peter's Pond to the south.

  • Essex County Greenbelt Association - $47,450 to conserve 25.7 acres in Newbury that abut the Martin H. Burns Wildlife Management Area and adds to an area of over 2,500 acres of conservation land. The parcel contains hardwood forest, intermittent streams and a large wetland area. Nearly all of the property contains critical wildlife habitat and it lies less than one half mile from The Great Marsh - the largest continuous stretch of salt marsh in New England at 17,000 acres.

  • New England Forestry Foundation - $66,750 for a 255-acre property in the towns of Buckland and Conway that completes 3,209-acre block of working forest that lies entirely within BioMap supporting landscape area and connects to Buckland State Forest. Comprised of five formerly separate ownerships, the property contains a diverse and unique forest including a champion red oak tree (among the tallest red oaks in the region). This woodland has been under active forest management for many years.

  • Greater Worcester Land Trust - $70,000 for 5.5 acres in West Boylston, a priority parcel of the West Boylston Open Space and Recreation Plan. The parcel contains open field habitat on the eastern bank of Malden Brook, a surface water source to DCR's Wachusett Reservoir and groundwater source for the West Boylston Water District's Lee Street wellhead.

Since 2006, the Conservation Partnership Program has completed 77 projects protecting more than 2,300 acres with an investment of $3.5 million in EEA funding. Funding for Conservation Partnership grants comes from the Energy and Environment Bond Bill signed by Governor Patrick in 2008.