Conservation Organizations Assist Metrowest Communities To Save Land, Water, Money
Michael P. O'Connor
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.
Mass Audubon protects 36,500 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts’ largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state’s natural treasures for wildlife and for all people—a vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women. Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 125,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today’s and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at massaudubon.org.