You are here

Conservation News

After years of reduced budgets, environmental programs and agencies in Massachusetts are poised to receive a real boost in funding.

The House, mindful of how important the natural environment is to the well being of the state, has passed a budget including substantial increases for the Department of Conservation and Recreation and related programs. The Senate is now debating the budget and messages to senators urging them to match the amounts called for by the House are needed.

Please email your state senator (https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator) requesting that they support the following budget amendments:

  • Amendment #163 - Department of Conservation and Recreation: State Parks and Recreation (2810-0100) – Increase to $50,000,000
  • Amendment #172 - Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (2310-0300) – Increase to $500,000, consistent with the House 
  • Amendment #165 – Conservation Land Tax Credit : amend the General Laws to raise the cap for the CLTC program from $2 million to $5 million  per year

For more details see https://amcberkshire.org/currentinitiatives.

Help Wanted

The chapter conservation committee is looking to chapter members to alert us of threats to trail corridors, scenic vistas, and vital ecosystems. Whether it's development, inappropriate resource managemnt, invasive species, etc.. that poses the threat, the chapter cannot help if it desn't know. If you are aware of an issue please contact conservation@amcberkshire.org.

Conservation News

Help Save the LWCF

White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

One lesson that the nation has learned during the global pandemic, is how important nature and the outdoors are for our health; both mentally and physically. With a growing appreciation for the environment and an increase of the public enjoying open spaces, comes a greater responsibility to conserve and protect our land and the wildlife that thrives upon it. 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was established by Congress to protect natural areas and resources, in addition to providing recreational activities to the nation. On August 4th of this past summer, President Donald Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) into law. This bill's passage should have resulted in full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund being available for critical projects and more funds for restoring the nation’s national parks, which see over 3 million visitors every year.

While this had been a step in the right direction, we are now seeing setbacks in the way the current administration is dealing with the Fund. Not only has the administration sent in LWCF allocations late, but they are also trying to limit how this program can protect federal land. Protections of national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges are critical for public enjoyment and the survival of wildlife. 

We need to take action now to ensure that the LWCF will be fully implemented and our conservation efforts are heard. Please take the time to write to your Members of Congress now!

Subject: 

Volunteer-led Activities to Resume after June 22nd

Although the COVID 19 pandemic is by no means over, AMC and the Berkshire Chapter are applying careful evidence-based risk management practices to chart a path forward for volunteer-led outdoor activities to resume safely. 

On June 22 we will begin offering volunteer-led activities in small groups employing social distancing measures. Group size will be capped at ten (10) participants including leaders. Activity leaders are receiving training on new trip safety protocols and procedures. 

Advance registration will now be required for all trips, and will use an online registration system. During registration, participants will electronically sign a liability waiver, and provide contact information that allows contact tracing should anyone report a positive test for COVID 19 within 14 days of the event.

The advance registration procedure will require registrants to review and acknowledge these expectations as a condition of participating in the activity:

  1. All participants must follow state and local stay-at-home guidance and cancel their participation if such guidance changes before the date of the event.
  2. All participants must bring and wear face coverings as required, and agree to follow the guidance in place in the state where the event takes place as well as follow the directions of the Leader.  
  3. All participants must maintain appropriate social distancing and follow the guidance of the Activity Leader. 
  4. All participants must bring their own water bottles, meals, eating utensils, and hand sanitizer with 60% or greater alcohol content. 
  5. Participants must contact AMC if they test positive for COVID- 19 within 14 days of the event, to enable contact tracing. 

We feel confident that these new procedures will allow small groups of participants to once again enjoy the unique pleasures of volunteer-led outdoor activities, with the attendant benefits to health and well being, while managing and minimizing the risks of exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Follow this link to explore upcoming chapter trips.

Chapter Activity Leaders can follow this link to access various resources related to leading chapter trips during Phase 2.

CANCELED: 50th Earth Year Kick-off Event with Naturalist and Radio Host Laurie Sanders

Effective 3/12/2020, "A Call to Action and Celebration of Biodiversity" is canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Please stay safe and follow all guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Date: 
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 - 6:00pm
Subject: 

Senate Passes Land and Water Conservation Legislation

On February 12th, the United States Senate voted 92 to 8 to pass legislation that included permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund ( LWCF). The LWCF, which is supported by a share of the income the federal government receives from off-shore oil and other leases, is the principal source of federal funds for land acquisition for parks and reserves as well as  for recreational developments. It had been in place for more than fifty years before it was allowed to expire last fall. The Senate vote for authorization was a top priority for the AMC and a host of other conservation and outdoor recreation organizations. The funding can be used at the federal, state, or local levels.

The next step in the process is for the House of Representatives to approve the measure, which appears near certain considering the very broad support the measure has in the House. Indications are that the President will sign the measure when it reaches his desk.

While authorization represents major progress, it takes an appropriation to make the funds available. The LWCF had been authorized at $900 million for years, but the funds actually appropriated each year have averaged less than half of that, so stand by to help in a major push for LWCF dedicated funding legislation, so that we ensure the full amount that goes into the fund is spent on conservation.

Subject: 

Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and Clean Power Plan Initiatives

Conservation is one of three important pillars at the AMC, next to recreation and education. The AMC is involved in a number of conservation initiatives from DC to Maine. Two pressing conservation initiatives for the AMC involve land conservation and clean air. Read more about these issues below and find out how you can get involved.

For fifty years the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been the country's principal source of federal funds for public land acquisition. It has supplied billions of dollars for national and state parks and other public lands as well as for park infrastructure, including a $100 million for Massachusetts. The fund was originally established in 1965 but is set to expire in September 2018. It is vital for conservation of critical natural resources that our legislators become champions for its permanent renewal. For more information see https://www.lwcfcoalition.com/lwcf52weeks/    and     http://www.outdoors.org/articles/blogs/conservation/savelwcf/ 
 

The Trump administration proposes eliminating the Clean Power Plan, which was put in place in 2015 to reduce emissions of greenhouse and other pollutants from power plants.  The comment period for this change in  EPA regulations ends on 12/15/17.  Comments are needed in support of keeping the Plan in place.  See http://www.outdoors.org/articles/blogs/conservation/clean-power-plan-rep...  and https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355-0002 
 

Subject: 

Pages

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer