- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Land Conservation Acquisition Protecting 43 Acres in Bolton
Craig Gilvarg, Press Secretary
Bolton — As part of its celebration of Earth Week in Massachusetts, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced the conservation of 43 acres of land in the Town of Bolton through the Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) program. The Taggart Land Acquisition project, which was awarded a $308,000 grant by the Administration in November 2020, will support passive recreation and forestry in an upland forest near the Still River Tributary, with ponds feeding a cold-water fishery. The announcement was made by Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides and state and local officials, highlighting the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to working with municipalities to provide open space and recreation for residents across the Commonwealth while advancing climate preparedness through natural resource management.
“Through the LAND Program, the Baker-Polito Administration partnered with the Town of Bolton to protect this critical land, expanding recreation for surrounding communities, support the management of critical habitat including forest land and ponds,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Every year, Earth Week offers an opportunity to reflect on the importance of protecting our natural world, and this project is a great example of our work with local communities to conserve valuable natural resources.”
The Taggart Land Acquisition advances the Town of Bolton’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness plan, which include conservation land acquisition that prioritizes lands that deliver climate resiliency. Almost all of the property includes upland forsest, and sides of the 43-acre parcel have freshwater ponds that feed a cold-water fishery. The property has existing trails formed by old logging paths and is a mixed-deciduous forest where a range of mammals and amphibians have been seen. The land was a priority in the town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan.
In November 2020, the Baker-Polito Administration announced more than $8.7 million in grant awards to municipalities and land trusts to support the acquisition and conservation of over 676 acres of land throughout the Commonwealth. The grants were awarded through four separate grant programs, including a $308,000 grant awarded to the Town of Bolton to support the Taggart Land Acquisition through the LAND Program. Eleven awards were announced through the LAND program, totaling nearly $2.7 million in funding.
The LAND Grant Program was established in 1961 to assist local conservation commissions in the acquisition of land for conservation purposes, ensuring that the land is made open to the general public for passive outdoor recreation.
This project builds on the Baker-Polito Administration’s efforts to protect and preserve critical natural resources while preparing for and mitigating the impacts of climate change through land conservation. In September, 2020, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $11.1 million in grants to cities and towns through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program, including a land conservation project in Littleton, bringing the total state investment in climate change resilience through the MVP program to over $44 million since 2017. In March 2021, the Administration announced a new round of funding through the MVP Program, and has released a Request for Responses seeking proposals from municipalities for priority climate planning and project implementation efforts. Proposals for Planning Grants will be accepted until June 4, 2021; proposals for Action Grants will be accepted until May 7, 2021.
During this year’s Earth Week in Massachusetts, the Baker-Polito Administration is highlighting its commitment to supporting the Commonwealth’s Environmental Justice communities, and ensuring that all residents are protected from environmental pollution can enjoy a clean and healthy environment. During Earth Week, the Administration is holding events throughout the Commonwealth spotlighting important initiatives, including the expansion of tree planting through the Greening the Gateway Cities Program, increasing access to healthy, nutritious food by supporting urban farms, and ensuring clean water by providing grant funding to local municipalities.
On March 26, 2021, Governor Baker signed comprehensive climate change legislation that includes nation-leading provisions related to Environmental Justice. Recognizing the significant impact of climate change on Environmental Justice communities overburdened by poor air quality and disproportionately high levels of pollution, the legislation statutorily defines Environmental Justice and environmental burdens, including climate change as an environmental burden. The legislation also expands Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) review to require an Environmental Impact Report for all projects that impact air quality within one mile of an Environmental Justice Neighborhood, and requires the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a stakeholder process to develop a cumulative impact analysis as a condition of permitting certain projects. This change would, for the first time, require the agency to evaluate not just individual project impacts but also historic environmental pollution throughout the community through the permit process.