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Current Conservation Initiatives

Today's Most Urgent Conservation Issues:

Help put solar power where it belongs



The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DoER) operates a SMART ( Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target) program to encourage development of solar power by offering payments in addition to market rates for solar generated electric power. The initial program was for 1600 MW and was deeply flawed, resulting in many projects being located on undeveloped forests and fields. DoER has issued rules for a further 1600MW of solar power capacity to receive higher than market payments for electricity. While the new rules contain several improvements over the rules covering the original 1600MW program, there are still serious deficiencies. The new rates still will result in too many projects being located in forests and on greenfields rather than already developed areas. 

For more on this go to

 or email a message doer with "Comments on SMART 4/15/20 Regulations" as the subject before 5/22/20. Also please send a copy to

There are three major points that should be addressed.

>Tariffs ( the rate received by solar generating unit owners) paid to units in forests and greenfields need to be reduced further to discourage deforestation for solar panel installation.

> Solar developments should be prohibited in priority and core habitats and critical natural landscapes as well protected lands for both public entity as well as privately owned projects.

> Tariffs paid to units located on existing buildings, over pavements, on brownfields, on previously developed sites need to be increased to direct solar power developments to where their benefits will be greatest.




Permanent funding for LWCF is moving in the Senate! The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is the most important source of funding for conservation land acquisition in the nation. This Federal program, funded with the proceeds from offshore leases, has provided billions of dollars for  wild and recreational lands around the country, including many millions of dollars in Massachusetts. However until now it's funding is always in jeopardy, but now

Permanent funding for LWCF is moving in the Senate!

Would you write four quick email messages to help protect threatened hiking, paddling, and climbing areas?

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) played a key role in preserving hundreds of thousands of acres of the land we love. We now have a chance to secure permanent funding for the LWCF so it will be available to help purchase and other important conservation lands. The US Senate will soon be considering S.3422 – Great American Outdoors Act) which will secure permanent funding for the LWCF and fund a huge backlog of projects to improve recreation in our national parks, forests, and monuments. We need you to make your voices heard to help this bill pass! (Learn more about the Act at this link: and

It is easy to help. All it takes is four quick email messages. Trust us, these messages are read, noticed, and have impact.

Senators Markey and Warren of Massachusetts, and Senator Collins of Maine have all become co-sponsors of this bill. Let’s make sure all three of them know how much this bill matters to us. Here’s what we want you to do: compose and send a brief message to the contacts (addresses listed below) for Senators Markey, Warren and Collins. Here is some text you can use, but feel free to edit to taste.

“My name is [your name], and I live in [city, state]. I am an active member of the Appalachian Mountain Club. I want to thank you for co-sponsoring Senate Bill S.3422, the Great American Outdoor Act. I consider the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to be essential for conserving land, cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities in the Northeast. I urge you to do all you can to secure passage of this measure.”

Send your messages to these addresses:



Three down, one to go!

Action in the U.S. House of Representatives is also needed to prevent the loss of our beloved natural and cultural resources, and truly fulfill the promise of the LWCF. We must get our legislators to bring key legislation to a floor vote in the House as well as the Senate. Here is another action you can take today: send a message to your House Representative (see list below). Here is some proposed text:

“My name is [your name], and I live in [city, state]. I am an active member of the Appalachian Mountain Club. I consider the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to be essential for conserving land, cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities in the Northeast. I urge you to request Speaker Pelosi to bring permanent funding for the LWCF to a vote. Please do all you can to see that this vote takes place, helping to secure more of our natural, cultural, and recreational resources for now and for generations to come.”

If you live in in Congressional District 1:

If you live in Congressional District 2:


You are done! Thank you for helping support the LWCF!

Questions? Contact Robert Cherdack, Berkshire Chapter Conservation Chair, via email at



Old Growth Forest Protection

Now is our chance to save the remaining old growth Forests in Massachusetts. A bill to protect old growth forest on state lands [ ] is on the move in our state legislature. If you believe we should protect our last remaining old growth forests on state lands please contact your state senator and urge her/him to call for a favorable finding on bill S.485 by the Senate Ways and Means Committee and passage by the senate. This would be especially helpful if your senator is on the Ways and Means Committee [ see].


More Information

This bill provides much-needed permanent protection for the last stands of ancient trees found on state lands.

Old-growth forests are extremely rare, and serve as "living laboratories" where students, scientists, and the public can learn more about forest development, tree genetics and climate change. Although 3 million of Massachusetts' 5 million acres are forested, only 1,500 acres of this land is original old-growth forest.

These ancient groves are scattered throughout the state in small patches, with most on the steep mountainsides of Western Massachusetts managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The value of these rapidly disappearing old-growth forests to people and wildlife is immeasurable; in forests that have not been disturbed for hundreds of years, canopy layers and fallen trees create rich and diverse habitats for many species of birds, insects and reptiles. These areas also act as carbon sinks– helping to sequester global warming gases.

Currently, old-growth forests in Massachusetts are not lawfully protected from timber cutting, only by policy that could change at any time.

This bill would:

  • Protect old-growth forests from logging and development by establishing a system of permanent old-growth forest reserves on state lands.
  • Require an inventory of the forests on state-owned land to determine the extent and condition of old-growth forest stands and their surrounding landscapes.
  • Include an assessment and selection of future old-growth forest areas that exhibit characteristics which, if left undisturbed, would meet the definition of an old-growth forest.
  • Prohibit new development, new or expanded recreational facilities, and commercial timber cutting in old-growth forest.
  • Establish a research and education program to monitor the status and promote understanding of old-growth forest reserves.

MA Old Growth Forest Bill Fact Sheet 

For another urgent matter see 


Up coming Issues: - What can we do to preserve the Endangered Species Act?

                                 - Putting solar power installations where they do the most good


For comments, questions, offers to help, contact:


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