Conservation Connection e-blast - October 13, 2010
Conservation Connection e-blast...the latest news from NRCS Massachusetts and our partners
Are you concerned about managing woodlands in a way that will improve - not threaten - the health of the forest? Would you like to increase wildlife habitat? Sustainably harvest your own firewood or timber? Are you hoping to reduce your property taxes while retaining your woodlands as forest? The Massachusetts Forest Stewardship Program will host a series of free informational events on three Saturdays mornings: October 30 at Titopa Farms in Douglas, November 6 at the Weston Memorial Forest in Middleborough, and November 13 at the Norton Town Forest.
NRCS Massachusetts State Conservationist Christine Clarke joined State Energy and Environment Secretary Ian Bowles and other state and municipal officials, as well as representatives of nonprofit groups, to celebrate the permanent preservation of nearly 250 acres of rural and agricultural space along Route 133 in Ipswich. The preservation of Maplecroft Farm involved the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR), NRCS, the town of Ipswich, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the Essex County Greenbelt Association.
Federal, state and local officials joined Cape Cod community leaders in Barnstable to celebrate the launch of the Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration Project, a major effort to protect shellfish beds and wildlife habitat through Cape Cod. In a special ceremony, an agreement between the federal government and Cape Cod towns was signed, marking the start of this watershed-wide project. An additional $1.5 million in Recovery Act funds was announced.
The 2010 New England RC&D Conference will be hosted by Berkshire-Pioneer RC&D Council of western MA. Last year's conference, "Feeding Ourselves," focused on food security. This year's conference "Feeding Ourselves, Fueling Ourselves," will continue that theme with emphasis on the relationship between energy and food security. The conference will showcase "buy local" efforts; public, private, and nonprofit partnerships; and will highlight energy projects of New England RC&D Councils, particularly those of Berkshire-Pioneer RC&D.
U.S. Department of Agriculture's Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Harris Sherman has announced Federal assistance to remove the Briggsville Dam in the town of Clarksburg, Massachusetts. The 15 foot high and 200 foot long dam will be removed to improve cold water habitat for native fish species and save jobs by eliminating the need for costly repairs.
Work to upgrade the George H. Nichols dam in Westborough is slated to begin in mid October, according to the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The project will bring the dam up to current safety and performance standards by relocating, widening and armoring the auxiliary spillway, constructing concrete retaining walls, and filling earth to block the existing auxiliary spillway.
Massachusetts Commissioner of Agricultural Resources Scott Soares announced the formation of the Massachusetts Association of Agricultural Commissions, Inc. (MAAC), a new organization dedicated to supporting Massachusetts' 140 municipal agricultural commissions (AgComs), in a ceremony held on Massachusetts Day at the Eastern States Exposition (The Big E) in West Springfield, Mass.
Farmer Microloan deadline approaching
The Carrot Project announces that the MassDevelopment/Strolling of the Heifers Small Farm Loan Program will be accepting prequalified applications through November 5, 2010 for loans of $15,000 or less. Applicants must live Massachusetts and must prequalify. There are additional deadlines in January and March of 2011. For more information, please go to www.thecarrotproject.org/farm_financing or contact Dorothy Suput at 617-666-9637 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Helping People Help the Land
NRCS Massachusetts State Office: 451 West Street, Amherst, MA 01002 | 413-253-4350 | fax 413-253-4395 | www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov
Christine S. Clarke, State Conservationist
Massachusetts Conservation Connection editor: Diane Baedeker Petit, Public Affairs Officer
NRCS field offices are located at USDA Service Centers in Barnstable, Greenfield, Hadley, Holden, Pittsfield, Westford and West Wareham.
Visit www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov for addresses and phone numbers.
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