Merrimack Conservation Partnership Opens New Grant Round

The Merrimack Conservation Partnership (MCP) today released a request for proposals for its third round of Land Conservation Grants, which fund transaction-related expenses on land conservation projects in the Merrimack Valley watershed of southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. The grant program is privately funded and administered by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests on behalf of the Merrimack Conservation Partnership. Non-profit land trusts, municipalities, and state agencies that have land conservation as a primary function are all eligible to apply for an MCP land conservation grant.

The Merrimack watershed is home to more than 2.6 million people – 1.87 million in Massachusetts and 748,000 in New Hampshire. This represents 57% of the total NH population and 29% of the MA population. The 2010 U.S. Forest Service report, Forests on the Edge, identified the Merrimack River watershed as the most threatened in the nation in terms of projected loss of private forest land over the next twenty years.

Completed in 2014, the Merrimack Conservation Partnership is the product of two years of effort by a dedicated group of conservation and planning professionals representing 33 private organizations and public agencies in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The Partnership is a collaborative, landscape-scale effort. Working together, the group has developed a science-driven, consensus land conservation plan that integrates the best-available natural resource data with expert judgment to prioritize land protection to protect water quality (especially drinking water supplies), preserve aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, conserve the region’s working farms and forests, and provide recreational open space. The Merrimack plan identifies 1.3 million acres of land, representing about 54% of the watershed’s total land area, as a priority for conservation. As of the completion of the plan, only 23% of these priority acres are permanently conserved.

The Merrimack Conservation Partnership Land Conservation Grants program underwrites transaction costs – appraisals, surveys, title research, staff time, etc., – on conservation transactions that protect land identified in the Merrimack Valley Regional Conservation Plan.

Before applying for a MCP grant, applicants should carefully review the request for proposals and application materials. These are available at the “Grants” section of the MCP website at http://merrimackconservationpartnership.org. The website also includes information on the Merrimack Valley region and conservation plan, maps, a list of towns in the region, etc.

Projects must be located in the towns listed on the website to be eligible to apply for funding.

Completed applications must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 30, 2017. Completed applications can be submitted electronically to bhotz@forestsociety.org. Completed applications may also be sent by mail, and must be postmarked no later than August 30, 2017. Mail applications to:  Brian Hotz, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, 54 Portsmouth Street, Concord, NH  03301. Successful grant applicants will be notified in late October 2017.

For all questions regarding the grant program and the application process, please contact Brian Hotz at (603) 224-9945 x 316 or bhotz@forestsociety.org.

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