Conservation Organizations Assist Metrowest Communities To Save Land, Water, Money

Release Date:
February 3, 2016

NATICK, MA— Mass Audubon, Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), and the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance (MRA) have each received a grant from the Foundation for MetroWest to assist local communities with land and water management options that benefit the environment, economy, and community quality-of-life.

The organizations will offer four workshops, as well as training on a new conservation mapping tool. The groups will also work directly with local officials to train them on Low Impact Development (LID), the use of green infrastructure, and to help towns comply with the state’s new water supply permitting rules. LID and green infrastructure can help the region plan and prepare for extreme storm events and reduce erosion, flooding, and pollution of waterways while supporting public and environmental health.

Two trainings will be offered especially for municipal staff and volunteer board and commission members focused on reducing phosphorus pollution in the Charles River and achieving compliance with new stormwater permits. Trainings will showcase water and land management best practices, successful examples from other communities, and will provide resources, advice, and support for local conservation, restoration, and sustainable development initiatives.

On March 23, Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick will host a CRWA-led training on Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System permits and effective strategies for reducing storm water runoff pollution. This will be followed by a breakfast workshop at Broadmoor, hosted by Mass Audubon, illustrating how natural green infrastructure can preserve and restore water quality and habitat through good planning, conservation design, and LID.

There will also be a hands-on training on MAPPR, Mass Audubon’s new, user-friendly mapping tool to identify high priority parcels for conservation. CRWA will repeat its program in May in the upper Charles watershed and Mass Audubon will conduct an additional workshop in June. Mass Audubon, through its Shaping the Future of Your Community program, will also provide additional direct technical assistance and advice to five communities around Broadmoor: (Dover, Framingham, Natick, Sherborn, and Wellesley).

The MRA is focusing its efforts on helping local municipal boards and water distributors understand and comply with new water supply management regulations under the state’s Sustainable Water Management Initiative.

These partners will seek to increase understanding and support for sustainable land use and water management practices. These techniques support clean and healthy rivers and streams, an attractive natural environment, high quality of life and public health, reduced municipal infrastructure costs, and a strong regional economy. The Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s Environmental Division, which provides environmental planning services to MetroWest and all of Greater Boston, will also be included in this collaborative effort.

Mass Audubon, Charles River Watershed Association, and the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance thank the Foundation for MetroWest (508-647-2260) for the grant funding and opportunity to serve the local community. Established in 1995, the Foundation for MetroWest is the only community foundation serving the 33 cities and towns in the region. The Foundation promotes philanthropy in the region, helps donors maximize the impact of their local giving, serve as a resource for local nonprofits and enhance the quality of life for all our residents. Since inception, the Foundation has granted $11.6 million to charitable organizations and currently stewards more than $15 million in charitable assets for current needs and future impact.

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Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 140,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at www.massaudubon.org.