MERRIMACK CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP OPENS NEW 2022 GRANT ROUNDS

The Merrimack Conservation Partnership (MCP) today released a request for proposals for its 2022 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 $87,000 to re-grant in 2022 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 and educational materials, river clean ups, water quality testing and monitoring activities, and other related activities. The MCP has $15,000 to re-grant in 2022 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 September 15, 2022 Completed applications may be submitted electronically to ccolton@forestsociety.org. Completed applications may also be sent by mail, and must be postmarked no later than September 15, 2022. 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 by October 31, 2022.

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.

MERRIMACK CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCE 2021 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, EDUCATION AND OUTREACH GRANT AWARDS

The Merrimack Conservation Partnership (MCP) announced the 2021 recipients of its fifth round of Environmental Science, Education and Outreach grants in the Merrimack Valley Watershed region of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. In this round of grants, the MCP awarded grants totaling $29,593 to seven projects that will help fund 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 and educational materials, river clean ups, water quality testing and monitoring activities, and other science, education, and outreach efforts.

In 2010, the Merrimack was identified by the US Forest Service as the most threatened watershed in the nation in terms of projected loss of private forestland over the next 20 years. The two-state region of the Merrimack Watershed spans a total of 2.1 million acres and 3,275 square miles of which 54% is in NH and 46% in Massachusetts. The Merrimack River starts in Franklin, NH and flows through eight of NH’s largest cities, then continues into Massachusetts to its mouth at Newburyport.

Launched in 2012, the Merrimack Conservation Partnership is a collaborative effort of private organizations and public agencies working on land conservation in the Merrimack Valley Watershed. The partners share a vision of conserving (on a strictly willing-seller/donor basis) the region’s most ecologically significant forests and the key connections between them for wildlife passage and human recreation.

Applicant: Appalachian Mountain Club
MCP Grant Award: $5,000
Estimated Total Project Costs: $51,903

The Dragonfly Mercury Project
The industrialized urban environment and legacy of pollution in the Merrimack River watershed has resulted in exposure of Lowell and Lawrence residents to mercury through recreational fishing and fish consumption. The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) will engage teachers, students, community organizations and families in the Dragonfly Mercury Project, a national-scale monitoring, research, education and community science project, to help reduce the community’s exposure to mercury through fish consumption. Staff will partner with community organizations, students and teachers to conduct mercury testing using dragonfly biosentinels and then to develop education materials to inform the community of their research results.

Applicant:  Merrimack River Watershed Council
MCP Grant Award:  $5,000
Total Project Costs:  $9,375

Trash and debris are visible, demoralizing, and persistent harms to the Merrimack River and its tributaries. The Merrimack River Watershed Council (MRWC) recognizes the need to coordinate consistent cleanup events in a strategic manner throughout our river system. The MRWC will a) build an informed multi-year trash reduction strategy, b) develop curriculum around plastic consumption, debris containment, and advocacy, c) prepare and implement four land-and-water cleanup events in 2022, and d) work with key municipalities to customize an approach, content and schedule for disseminating relevant information and the specific findings of our strategy. These efforts are vital for all communities, but particularly underserved individuals who might lack access to information about the health of the river and how to reduce plastic consumption.

Applicant:  Ipswich River Watershed Association
MCP Grant Award:  $2,500
Total Project Costs:  $17,328

RiverWatch
The Ipswich River Watershed Association (IRWA) began the RiverWatch program to address water quality threats to the River, and now 50 volunteers monitor 42 sites across the Ispwich, Parker and Essex River watersheds. The results of testing conducted by trained citizen-science volunteers is uploaded to the EPA Water Quality Exchange for sharing with state agencies that track the ecological health of waterways. The IRWA will continue this established program, expanding it to include a bacterial pathogen testing program. Throughout 2022, data will be compiled monthly and reviewed against quality control guidelines. Results will be converted into a scoring system as a basis for a river health index which will be used to report on the current state of the river, with recommendations on how conditions can be improved.

Applicant:  Nashua River Watershed Association
MCP Grant Award: $3,643
Total Project Costs: $4,616

Nashua River Nature Detectives:
Using city parks and trails in Nashua, the Nashua River Watershed Association (NRWA) will provide an engaging clue-based program series for teaching youth about protecting land and water and the importance of the Nashua and Merrimack Rivers. One Saturday each month during January through May 2022, staff will lead 20 participants ages 6 -14 on an afternoon “investigation” at a selected park or city trail. Using the assigned “sleuth sheet,” families will follow clues to discover and explore connections between water, land, nature, and city history. NRWA staff will lead each exploration. Participants’ discoveries, photographs and sketches will be curated for display at the Nashua Public Library.

Applicant: Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust, Inc.
MCP Grant Award: $4,450
Estimated Total Project Costs: $8,950

The Wonders of Land Conservation
The Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust (LP&CT) will present a new series of 8 – 10 public educational and outreach programs to showcase how urban land conservation in Lowell is contributing to water quality in the Merrimack River watershed. Public programming will be offered at LP&CT conservation properties to highlight above-ground and below-ground research that is contributing to climate science, entomology, geology, urban ecology, herpetology, and aquatic chemistry, among others. Citizen scientists will contribute to real research project data and youth from nearby schools will be exposed to conservation professionals in the field. After these programs, LP&CT will host a panel presentation featuring how LP&CT properties are actively used in conservation research in Lowell.

Applicant: Mass Audubon
MCP Grant Award: $5,000
Estimated Total Project Costs: $16,906

Rivers to Sea
Mass Audubon’s Rivers to Sea program will serve students in elementary and middle schools in Lawrence. It is designed to familiarize students with the Merrimack River watershed and the aquatic ecosystems within it, connect them with community members who are working to protect it, and give them the chance to design and carry out action projects to ensure the watershed is healthy for the human and wildlife communities that live there. The program will take place after school and will run in blocks of 10-week sessions, meeting daily, and Mass Audubon educators will join once each week. Students will participate in community stewardship projects that benefit the river and watershed, such as water quality monitoring, planting of native vegetation, macroinvertebrate study and more, and share their work with their families and the greater public.

Applicant: Seaside Sustainability
MCP Grant Award: $4,000
Estimated Total Project Costs: $137,145

Green Scholars
Green Scholars is a project-based learning curriculum that educates students on environmental science, including water-based content and watershed science, and empowers them to take action. By engaging students in the research of sources of pollution, they are motivated to create solutions and undertake active roles. The use of project-based learning practices inspires students to pursue careers focused on protecting water systems. In 2022, Seaside Sustainability will expand the reach of this program by transitioning the in-person curriculum to a web platform to increase the number of students who have the opportunity to learn how to directly impact their local community and environment. The web platform will also allow participation at a lower subscription price, expanding affordable program access for schools in underserved communities.

For more information about the MCP, please contact Brian Hotz at (603) 224-9945 or bhotz@forestsociety.org.  Information is also available at http://merrimackconservationpartnership.org.

MERRIMACK CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCES 2021 LAND TRANSACTION GRANT AWARDS

The Merrimack Conservation Partnership (MCP) announced the 2021 recipients of its seventh round of Land Conservation Grants, which help underwrite conservation projects that protect the ecologically important Merrimack Valley Watershed region of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. In the latest grant round, the MCP awarded grants totaling $45,994 to 4 projects that will conserve a total of approximately 166 acres of land. The total value of the land to be protected in the latest grant round is conservatively estimated at $1.69 million.

In 2010, the Merrimack was identified by the US Forest Service as the most threatened watershed in the nation in terms of projected loss of private forestland over the next 20 years. The two-state region of the Merrimack Watershed spans a total of 2.1 million acres and 3,275 square miles of which 54% is in NH and 46% in Massachusetts. The Merrimack River starts in Franklin, NH and flows through eight of NH’s largest cities, then continues through Massachusetts to its mouth at Newburyport.

Launched in 2012, the Merrimack Conservation Partnership is a collaborative effort of private organizations and public agencies working on land conservation in the Merrimack Valley Watershed. The partners share a vision of conserving (on a strictly willing-seller/donor basis) the region’s most ecologically significant forests and the key connections between them for wildlife passage and human recreation.

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.

Below is a list of the 2021 grant recipients and a brief description of their projects.

Artichoke River Woods Expansion, West Newbury, MA

Applicant: Essex County Greenbelt Association
Acres to be conserved: 8
Protection Method: Land purchase
MCP Grant Award: $7,000
Estimated Total Project Cost: $365,960

The Essex County Greenbelt Association is working to acquire and preserve 8 acres of forested watershed protection land on the Artichoke Reservoir. The land abuts the existing 38-acre Artichoke River Woods Reservation. Already-established hiking trails on this expansion parcel will be incorporated into the trails on the reservation, expanding opportunities for free recreational hiking. Protection of this parcel ensures it will remain undeveloped, so that it will continue to provide outstanding wildlife habitat connectivity, productive forests, and water quality protection for communities which draw water from the Artichoke River Reservoir.

Corliss Hill Conservation Project, Haverhill, MA

Applicant: Essex County Greenbelt Association
Acres to be conserved: 22.45
Protection Method: Land purchase
MCP Grant Award: $9,000
Estimated Total Project Cost: $427,705

The Essex County Greenbelt Association (ECGA) will purchase more than 22 acres of land nestled next to 400 acres of preserved watershed land in the City of Haverhill. The City has assigned its option to purchase the land to ECGA, who will purchase the fee and then sell 13 acres of forestland to the City for water supply protection, retaining the remainder. Both parcels will be held under reciprocal conservation easements. Trails that exist on the property will be open to the public and connect to existing recreation trails on the City’s adjacent protected land. The open fields near the road have been historically farmed for more than a century and the landowners on the adjacent parcel have pledged to grant a conservation restriction on the majority of their land (the other half of the original farm) when this piece is successfully preserved.

Potter Family Farm, Concord, NH

Applicant: Five Rivers Conservation Trust
Acres to be conserved: 88
Protection Method: Purchased Conservation Easement
MCP Grant Award: $20,000
Estimated Total Project Costs: $515,000

Five Rivers will purchase a conservation easement on 88 acres of land that has been farmed by the Potter Family for centuries. The current farmer will use the funds from the sale to purchase the land and continue to operate the farm, including agriculture, forestry and some low-impact agritourism activities. The existing snowmobile trail will remain open to public access. By ensuring that this land will continue to be used for agriculture and forestry, this easement will protect the water quality of Turtletown Pond and add to a block of nearly 600 acres of conserved land in Northeast Concord.

Eastern Greenway/North, Harvard, MA

Applicant: Sudbury Valley Trustees
Acres to be conserved: 45
Protection Method: Purchased Conservation Restriction
MCP Grant Award: $9,994
Estimated Total Project Costs: $518,035

Sudbury Valley Trustees has the opportunity to protect the Eastern Greenway/North property by purchasing a Conservation Restriction (at 80-percent fair market value) over 45 acres of land held by the Harvard Conservation Trust (HCT) and located along an unused utility corridor in Harvard. These parcels knit together surrounding protected lands in a contiguous corridor, important not only for wildlife passage but also for connectivity to the existing trail network on surrounding open space. Protecting these parcels will safeguard critical connecting parcels within the High Ridge natural resource area, which will enhance the ecological resilience of this region. HCT intends to expand the existing trail network and provide new connections to nearby conservation lands.

For more information about the MCP, please contact Brian Hotz at (603) 224-9945 or bhotz@forestsociety.org.  Information is also available at http://merrimackconservationpartnership.org.

Merrimack Conservation Partnership Opens New 2021 Grant Rounds

The Merrimack Conservation Partnership (MCP) today released a request for proposals for its 2021 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 $68,000 to re-grant in 2021 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 and educational materials, river clean ups, water quality testing and monitoring activities, and other related activities. The MCP has $20,000 to re-grant in 2021 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 September 15, 2021. Completed applications may be submitted electronically to ccolton@forestsociety.org. Completed applications may also be sent by mail, and must be postmarked no later than September 15, 2021. 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 by October 30, 2021.

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.

MERRIMACK CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCES 2020 LAND TRANSACTION GRANT AWARDS

The Merrimack Conservation Partnership (MCP) announced the 2020 recipients of its sixth round of Land Conservation Grants, which help underwrite conservation projects that protect the ecologically important Merrimack Valley Watershed region of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. In the latest grant round, the MCP awarded grants totaling $25,800 to 3 projects that will conserve a total of approximately 211 acres of land. The total value of the land to be protected in the latest grant round is conservatively estimated at $1.7 million.

In 2010, the Merrimack was identified by the US Forest Service as the most threatened watershed in the nation in terms of projected loss of private forestland over the next 20 years. The two-state region of the Merrimack Watershed spans a total of 2.1 million acres and 3,275 square miles of which 54% is in NH and 46% in Massachusetts. The Merrimack River starts in Franklin, NH and flows through eight of NH’s largest cities, then continues through Massachusetts to its mouth at Newburyport.

Launched in 2012, the Merrimack Conservation Partnership is a collaborative effort of private organizations and public agencies working on land conservation in the Merrimack Valley Watershed. The partners share a vision of conserving (on a strictly willing-seller/donor basis) the region’s most ecologically significant forests and the key connections between them for wildlife passage and human recreation.

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.

Below is a list of the grant recipients and a brief description of their projects.

Continue reading

MERRIMACK CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCE 2020 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, EDUCATION AND OUTREACH GRANT AWARDS

The Merrimack Conservation Partnership (MCP) announced the 2019 recipients of its fourth round of Environmental Science, Education and Outreach grants in the Merrimack Valley Watershed region of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. In this round of grants, the MCP awarded grants totaling $20,376 to five projects that will help fund 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 and educational materials, river clean ups, water quality testing and monitoring activities, and other science, education, and outreach efforts.

In 2010, the Merrimack was identified by the US Forest Service as the most threatened watershed in the nation in terms of projected loss of private forestland over the next 20 years. The two-state region of the Merrimack Watershed spans a total of 2.1 million acres and 3,275 square miles of which 54% is in NH and 46% in Massachusetts. The Merrimack River starts in Franklin, NH and flows through eight of NH’s largest cities, then continues into Massachusetts to its mouth at Newburyport.

Launched in 2012, the Merrimack Conservation Partnership is a collaborative effort of private organizations and public agencies working on land conservation in the Merrimack Valley Watershed. The partners share a vision of conserving (on a strictly willing-seller/donor basis) the region’s most ecologically significant forests and the key connections between them for wildlife passage and human recreation. The funded projects are:

Continue reading

MERRIMACK CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP OPENS NEW 2020 GRANT ROUNDS

The Merrimack Conservation Partnership (MCP) today released a request for proposals for its 2020 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 $55,000 to re-grant in 2020 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 and educational materials, river clean ups, water quality testing and monitoring activities, and other related activities. The MCP has $15,000 to re-grant in 2020 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 September 15, 2020. Completed applications may be submitted electronically to ccolton@forestsociety.org. Completed applications may also be sent by mail, and must be postmarked no later than September 15, 2020. 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 by October 30, 2020.

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.

Merrimack Conservation Partnership Announces its 2019 Environmental Science, Education and Outreach Grant Awards

The Merrimack Conservation Partnership (MCP) announced the 2019 recipients of its third round of Environmental Science, Education and Outreach grants in the Merrimack Valley Watershed region of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. In this round of grants, the MCP awarded grants totaling $15,000 to five projects that will help fund 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 and educational materials, river clean ups, water quality testing and monitoring activities, and other science, education, and outreach efforts.

In 2010, the Merrimack was identified by the US Forest Service as the most threatened watershed in the nation in terms of projected loss of private forest land over the next 20 years. The two-state region of the Merrimack Watershed spans a total of 2.1 million acres and 3,275 square miles of which 54% is in NH and 46% in Massachusetts. The Merrimack River starts in Franklin, NH and flows through eight of NH’s largest cities, then continues into Massachusetts to its mouth at Newburyport.

Launched in 2012, the Merrimack Conservation Partnership is a collaborative effort of private organizations and public agencies working on land conservation in the Merrimack Valley Watershed. The partners share a vision of conserving (on a strictly willing-seller/donor basis) the region’s most ecologically significant forests and the key connections between them for wildlife passage and human recreation.

Continue reading

Merrimack Conservation Partnership Announces 2019 Land Transaction Grant Awards

The Merrimack Conservation Partnership (MCP) announced the 2019 recipients of its fifth round of Land Conservation Grants, which help underwrite conservation projects that protect the ecologically important Merrimack Valley Watershed region of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. In the latest grant round, the MCP awarded grants totaling $94,502 to 7 projects that will conserve a total of approximately 870 acres of land. The total value of the land to be protected in the latest grant round is conservatively estimated at $4.8 million.

In 2010, the Merrimack was identified by the US Forest Service as the most threatened watershed in the nation in terms of projected loss of private forest land over the next 20 years. The two-state region of the Merrimack Watershed spans a total of 2.1 million acres and 3,275 square miles of which 54% is in NH and 46% in Massachusetts. The Merrimack River starts in Franklin, NH and flows through eight of NH’s largest cities, then continues through Massachusetts to its mouth at Newburyport.

Launched in 2012, the Merrimack Conservation Partnership is a collaborative effort of private organizations and public agencies working on land conservation in the Merrimack Valley Watershed. The partners share a vision of conserving (on a strictly willing-seller/donor basis) the region’s most ecologically significant forests and the key connections between them for wildlife passage and human recreation.

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.

MVRCP_RegionMap11x17_2019

Below is a list of the grant recipients and a brief description of their projects. Continue reading

Merrimack Conservation Partnership Opens New 2019 Grant Rounds

The Merrimack Conservation Partnership (MCP) today released a request for proposals for its 2019 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 $80,000 to re-grant in 2019 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 clean ups, water quality testing & monitoring activities, and other related activities. The MCP has $15,000 to re-grant in 2019 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, 2019. Completed applications may be submitted electronically to ccolton@forestsociety.org. Completed applications may also be sent by mail, and must be postmarked no later than August 30, 2019. 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 2019.

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.