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Massachusetts to Preserve 409 Acres of Open Spaces With Grant Program

By Lucas Willard


Pittsfield, MA – The Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs is awarding over 514,000 dollars to nine nonprofit organizations across the Commonwealth to protect conservation land. Since 2005 the Conservation Partnership Grant Program has helped protect over 2.732 acres of open-spaces in Massachusetts. EEA Secretary Richard Sullivan
Parcels of land selected for the awards include a variety of different types of ecosystems. Across the state projects were chosen to protect native forests, wetlands, and coastal cranberry bogs. The projects were considered on criteria such as natural resource protection, ecological benefit, endangered species protection, and proximity to other areas of preserved land. The money will assist non-profits acquire land to convert or preserve for educational and recreational use, as well as generate tourism to help local economies.
The Massachusetts Audubon Society is one organization to receive funds from the program. $85,000 will go towards protecting 55 acres of mixed forest and wetlands in Barre. The new parcel adjoins the Rutland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary.
Charlie Wyman, Senior Land Protection Specialist at the Massachusetts Audubon Society explains
The White Oak Land Conservation Society is another non-profit selected for the award. $59,000 there will help protect 12 acres of land once used as a nature summer camp, and a natural water resource on Porcupine Hill, in Holden and Paxton. An old building on the former camp property will be removed, and improved access to the property will be provided for outdoor activities. Scott Morrisson, President of the White Oak Land Conservation Society
Other non-profits awarded grants include the The Coalition for Buzzards Bay, the Greater Worcester Land Trust, the Rehoboth Land Trust, the Barnstable Land Trust, the East Quabbin Land Trust, Wildlands Trust, and Rutland Land Conservancy.
409 acres of open spaces total will be preserved in this round of funding.