BOSTON (State House News Service) – From Cape Cod to Greater Boston and out to the Berkshires, the Baker administration is doling out more than $2 million to help protect important landscapes and local drinking water in nine Massachusetts communities.
From the Landscape Partnership grant program, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy has been awarded $440,865 to protect wildlife habitat, add scenic views to the Appalachian Trail and expand Beartown State Forest in Tyringham. The Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust will get $589,350 towards a project to protect waterways of the Millers River that sustain flora, fauna and eco-tourism in Orange, Royalston and Warwick.
To be eligible for the grant program, the administration said projects must “demonstrate a partnership between at least two eligible entities, including municipalities, non-profits, and state agencies, for the acquisition of a minimum of 500 acres of contiguous land.”
Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides called partnerships with municipalities “our best tool to address state and local priorities and build a more resilient Commonwealth.”
Another five communities — Barnstable, Cambridge, Dighton, Sandwich and Springfield — have been awarded funding through the Drinking Water Supply Protection grant program “for the acquisition of land in fee, a conservation restriction, or a watershed preservation restriction for water supply protection and land conservation purposes.”
Barnstable’s $251,572 award will be used to protect what the Baker administration said is “one of the Town’s largest remaining parcels of unprotected upland forest habitat” and the $226,387 award to Sandwich will support “passive recreation and watershed protection” on land that abuts the Barnstable project.
“It is critical that we conserve land and protect our drinking water supply as Cape Cod has a sole source aquifer. This funding will allow us to conserve land, while also allowing individuals to enjoy it for recreational use,” Barnstable Rep. Steven Xiarhos said.