State Awards $3.7M for Land Conservation, Protection

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $3,723,669 in grant funding for conservation projects across the state in a continued effort to ensure land protection, address climate change, and protect biodiversity within the Commonwealth. As part of the funding, grants were provided to eight land trusts through the Conservation Partnership Grant Program, 11 communities through the Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) Grant Program, and eight projects through the Conservation District Innovative Projects Grant Program.

“Land protection and conservation plays an integral role in our administration’s efforts to protect the Commonwealth’s environmental resources and address the impacts of climate change,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The funding awarded to these communities and non-profits across Massachusetts will ensure that stakeholders are equipped with the tools and resources necessary to maintain important working lands and wildlife habitat as open space.”

“Cities and towns across Massachusetts are on the frontlines of conserving critical natural resources, protecting open space and increasing access to the outdoors,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is proud to work hand-in-hand with our municipal partners to be better prepared to protect natural environments for all residents to enjoy.”

“Partnerships with communities and stakeholders is the cornerstone of the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to help municipalities implement locally prioritized conservation projects,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The funds awarded today will support efforts across the Commonwealth to improve water quality and wildlife habitats, protect land, and enhance outdoor recreational opportunities.”

The Conservation Partnership Program provides funding to assist non-profit organizations in acquiring interests in lands suitable for conservation or recreation purposes.

The following are the Conservation Partnership grant recipients:


Berkshire Natural Resources CouncilBerkshire Farm Center Conservation

The project will protect a 330 acre parcel of land containing a portion of the Taconic Crest Trail, unfragmented, woodlands, scenic overlooks, and cultural features and will become a part of BNRC's Hollow Fields Reserve.

330.00 acres


Boxborough Conservation TrustElizabeth Brook Knoll

The project will add to an existing conserved area that protects BioMap2 Core Habitat and Critical Natural Landscape and public drinking water supplies and protects a glacial knoll that rises abruptly several hundred feet in elevation directly above the surrounding terrain.

15.67 acres


Essex County Greenbelt AssociationCobbler's Brook Reservation

The project involves the acquisition of a nearly 23-acre inholding to Merrimac's largest open space, the Town Forest. Cobbler's Brook winds its way through mature woodlands and boggy wetlands filled with wildflowers and wildlife on its way to the Merrimac River.

22.90 acres


Greater Worcester Land TrustDifley Forest Homestead

The project will protect access to the Midstate Trail and important habitat. The land is currently enrolled in Chapter 61 with a Forest Stewardship Plan on file with DCR.

72.00 acres


Harwich Conservation Trust Cornelius Pond Woodlands Project

The project will protect more than 1,000' of shoreline on Cornelius Pond, a coastal plain pond with state-listed Plymouth gentian, priority habitat, BioMap2 Core Habitat and Critical Natural Landscape, as well as Zone II Area of Contribution.

14.90 acres


Mt. Grace Land Conservation Trust Sunset View Farm

The project will help pay for the due diligence associated with the donation of a CR on the 70-acre historic Woodbury Farm.

70.00 acres


Truro Conservation Trust Great Hollow Beach Land Acquisition

The project will acquire a 1.09-acre buildable beachfront property with 267' of frontage on Cape Cod Bay. The property's upland contains coastal heathland habitat. Town-owned Great Hollow Town Beach abuts the property.

1.09 acres


Westport Land Conservation TrustAngeline Brook Forest Conservation Project

The project will protect a 30 acre parcel of land that is almost entirely designated as Core Habitat and Critical Natural Landscape with 1,425' of coldwater stream along Angeline Brook.

30.00 acres


The LAND Program (formerly the Self-Help Program) was established in 1961 to assist municipal conservation commissions in acquiring land for natural resource protection and passive outdoor recreation purposes. Any municipal conservation commission with an approved Open Space and Recreation Plan is eligible to apply for this program.

The following are the LAND grant recipients, a brief project description, and dollar amount of the award.


Amherst Keet-Haskins Conservation Project

A fee acquisition of 49-acres of mature forestland, straddled by Cushman Brook, one of the healthiest streams in Amherst. This project will extend a contiguous block of permanently land along the Cushman Brook/Mill River corridor.


Ashby Buczynski Property

An acquisition of a 42-acre forested parcel abutting the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife's Trapfall Wildlife Management Area to preserve former agricultural land for gardening and an orchard. This property contains the headwaters of Trapfall Brook.


Brewster Long Pond Woodlands

This project will protect one of the largest forested parcels in Brewster and preserve wildlife habitat and a municipal well field, while providing access to the shoreline of Cape Cod.


Dartmouth High Hill Road Project

This project will protect a 58-acre wooded parcel as a part of an effort to create a corridor of permanently protected open space extending from Fall River, to Dartmouth, and finally, Westport.


Dunstable Frye Field CR

This project will conserve the 12-acre Frye Field, which is part of the historic Fletcher Family homestead for agriculture. This parcel contains one of the few wet meadows in town.


Gosnold Bay Berry Hill Conservation Project

Acquisition of a Conservation Restriction over 11 acres of land, which is habitat for eight listed species and lies over the sole source aquifer for the town's drinking water supply. This project will provide an extraordinary view of Cuttyhunk Island.


HollandStephens' Brook Community Forest

This project will acquire a 153-acre forested watershed, a critical cold-water resource stream for the town and preserve an unfragmented wildlife corridor.


Northampton Parsons Brook Project

An acquisition of an 88-acre parcel to protect Parsons Brook, a cold water fishery, medium-yield aquifer, turtle and songbird habitat, and a pine barren forest. This project will provide an accessible trail for bird watching and fishing.


Palmer Midura Family Conservation Project

An acquisition of 92 acres of forestland that is comprised of wildlife habitat and connects to the 2,200-acre Palmer Wildlife Management Area and the Quaboag River. This project will also preserve the remnants of the Grand Trunk Railroad.


Provincetown Beech Tree Dunes Project

The project will acquire critical BioMap2 Core Habitat of beech-maple-oak forest for conservation to support the Provincetown Greenway, a forest corridor between the town's downtown and the open dunes of the shoreline.


Southampton 111 Glendale Road Conservation Project

This project will preserve 85 acres of scenic forest and protect critical habitat and valuable water resources from imminent development.


The Conservation District Grant Program, which was created in 2017, is funded by the 2014 Environmental Bond Bill and provides funding to local Conservation District offices helping them implement locally prioritized conservation projects. Conservation districts are not-for-profit entities composed of locally elected boards dedicated to the conservation of natural resources within a region or area, that work cooperatively with municipal, state and federal agencies to preserve and protect natural resources at the local level by promoting best management land practices.

The following are the Conservation District grant recipients:


Worcester County


The district will provide technical assistance, outreach, and education to Worcester County landowners, students, and citizens to help them maintain soil health and protect water quality. They will also develop conservation and nutrient management plans for farms.

Plymouth County


The Small Scale Farm Manure Management Education and Research project will conduct a comprehensive research survey of the 28 communities in Plymouth County.

Dukes County


This project will assess, evaluate and reduce the impact of all farming activities within the watersheds of the Edgartown Great Pond, Katama Bay and Lagoon Pond. Reducing nitrogen loading has been determined by the Massachusetts Estuary Program to be a priority for improving water quality.

Franklin County


The Franklin Conservation District proposes to work on three popular river access areas that have accessibility and erosion issues within three county communities. The areas are popular river access locations, which are being affected by increasing floodwaters and from climate change in general.

Berkshire County


The District’s Berkshire County No-Till Farmland Initiative will provide the necessary resources to increase the use of No-Till seeding methods on local farmlands. Of particular importance, the District will purchase a no-till planter for rental to farmers.

Cape Cod


This effort will provide facilitated conservation planning to the Towns of Harwich and Bourne, as well as other associated stakeholders for two specific water quality projects. They will identify implementation problems and opportunities, and will determine the final project objectives.

Middlesex County


This effort will support the Conservation District’s efforts to provide a basic level of service to the County as a clearing house for conservation assistance to landowners.

Suffolk County


The funding will be used to cover start-up cost as the Suffolk County Conservation District revitalizes its organization and lays the foundation for future conservation projects.

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