Merrimack Conservation Partnership Opens New 2018 Grant Rounds

The Merrimack Conservation Partnership (MCP) today released a request for proposals for its 2018 grant programs:

  • Land Conservation Grant Program, which funds transaction-related expenses on land conservation projects in the lower Merrimack Valley watershed of southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. The program underwrites transaction costs—appraisals, surveys, title research, staff time, etc.—on conservation transactions that protect land identified as a priority in the Merrimack Valley Regional Conservation Plan (2014). The MCP has $100,000 to re-grant in 2018 for this grant program.
  • Environmental Science, Education and Outreach Grant Program, which provides funding for environmental science, education and outreach activities related directly to the Merrimack River or its watershed.  Funds can be used for activities such as Youth or public environmental educational activities, development of outreach & educational materials, river cleanups, water quality testing & monitoring activities, and other related activities. The MCP has $15,000 to re-grant in 2018 for this grant program.

The grant programs are 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 are all eligible to apply for an MCP grant.

The Merrimack Conservation Partnership is a regional conservation alliance formed to protect the southern portion of the greater Merrimack River watershed in New Hampshire and Massachusetts through accelerated land and water protection, advocacy, restoration, outreach, and education.  The Partnership works by supporting and fostering collaboration, coordination, and innovation among partner organizations to strengthen our individual and collective efforts toward achieving the shared goal of a clean, healthy Merrimack River.

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 (2014). 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.

Working together, the Partnership has developed a science-driven, consensus-based 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 Conservation 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 in 2014, only 23% of these priority acres was permanently conserved.

Before applying for an 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, 2018. Completed applications can be submitted electronically to ccolton@forestsociety.org. Completed applications may also be sent by mail, and must be postmarked no later than August 30, 2018. Mail applications to:  Connie Colton, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, 54 Portsmouth Street, Concord, NH  03301. Successful grant applicants will be notified in October 2018.

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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