Bird-a-thon brings together supporters from across the state to raise essential funds for nature conservation, education, and advocacy—and to compete in an exciting team birding competition. This year’s event has gone virtual: join today!
For nearly 50 years, the Clean Water Act has helped safeguard America’s rivers, lakes, and other interconnected landscapes. Now it’s under threat, but Mass Audubon and our partners are fighting back. Learn more >
CPA Trust Fund: Planning Ahead
Since the ongoing pandemic has made it difficult to predict how much qualifying communities will receive from the CPA Trust Fund in November, the state has issued preliminary guidance to help with FY21 budget planning.
The Trump administration is rolling back enforcement of environmental regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic, essentially ceasing to hold companies accountable for pollution until further notice. Mass Audubon and other environmental groups spoke out about this decision to The Boston Globe.
Supporting River and Wetland Health
Earlier this month, the state Division of Ecological Restoration announced new funding awarded to projects that will remove aging dams, restore floodplain habitat, and improve resilience to climate change. Mass Audubon’s Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary is among the recipients.
Funding Opportunity to Improve Water Quality
MassDEP is holding an informational call on April 8 about their 604(b) grant program, ahead of issuing their Request for Responses later this month. Potential grant applicants are encouraged to participate in the call to discuss new project ideas.
The transportation sector is responsible for more than 40% of greenhouse gas emissions statewide. To help address the problem at its source, Massachusetts joined a regional initiative to reduce emissions and invest in sustainable transportation. You can help it succeed >
A new poll found that 58% of American respondents consider themselves either “alarmed” or “concerned” about climate change—an all-time high, and an alarmed percentage that’s nearly triple what it was five years ago.
Webinar: Adopting CPA in Your Community
Our Community Preservation Act (CPA) has recently heard from many communities that are curious about adopting CPA. So we’re offering a free webinar on Thursday, January 30, at 12:00 pm to share CPA basics and how to adopt it locally! Get the details & register >
According to the first comprehensive review of bird population trends in decades, 29% of US birds have disappeared since 1970. Learn more about the issue and some Mass Audubon programs you can support to be part of the solution.
The Value of Nature in Narragansett Bay
This new report and website explore the $14 billion value of nature-based economic sectors in the Narragansett Bay Watershed. Mass Audubon partnered with the University of Rhode Island Coastal Institute and others on this project, which aims to inform future decision-making in the region.
The state has announced $8 million in funding for the latest round of Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program grants. This funding will help communities plan for climate impacts and implement priority adaptation projects. Learn more about MVP and how to apply for this funding.
Are You a Community Preservation Leader?
Our Community Preservation Coalition Steering Committee is expanding! As the CPA program has grown over the years, the Steering Committee hopes to grow along with it by including wide-ranging representation from member communities. Learn more.
Cities are especially vulnerable to the rising temperatures that come with climate change, thanks to factors like the heat island effect. Find out why and discover one simple thing you can do to help.
State Budget Success
Governor Baker signed the FY20 budget last week, which included funding for Mass Audubon’s Trailside Museum and a permanent increase for the CPA Trust Fund. Thanks to everyone who contacted their legislators and Governor Baker about supporting these programs!
Massachusetts is seeking Regional Coordinators for the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program. The positions will support communities through the MVP process and help them advance climate resilience projects. Think you’d be a good fit? Learn more & apply >
Update 8/5/2019: Great news – Governor Baker signed the FY20 budget last week, and it included these CPA funding increases. Thanks to everyone who contacted their legislators and Governor Baker in support of CPA!
The Community Preservation Act (CPA) helps cities and towns preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing, and develop outdoor recreational facilities. Since it went into effect in 2000, CPA has been adopted by 175 communities (50% of the Commonwealth’s cities and towns), and has helped preserve 29,289 acres of open space.
When a city or town votes to adopt CPA, they agree to add a
small surcharge to local property taxes, which goes into a dedicated fund for these
projects. In exchange, they receive matching funds from the Statewide CPA Trust
Fund, which is generated from Registry of Deeds recording fees.
As the number of CPA communities has increased, however,
Trust Fund payouts to CPA communities have declined. Fortunately, we now have a
chance to change that pattern.
The FY20 budget has been sent to Governor Baker’s desk for his final approval, and it includes a long-overdue increase to recording fees from $20 to $50 – a change that would provide the Trust Fund with an additional $36 million per year! The budget also includes a one-time transfer of $20 million to the Trust Fund from the state’s FY19 tax collection surplus.
Combined, these fixes would stabilize CPA and boost future matching funds for communities to use in local projects.
You can help make this happen! Our Community Preservation Coalition has launched a campaign to generate hundreds of phone calls to the Governor’s hotline, urging him to sign the bill. It only takes two minutes – please call today and let Governor Baker know it’s time to #SaveCPA!
The Massachusetts state legislature released their final FY20 state budget over the weekend following conference committee deliberations, and there’s good news for many of Mass Audubon’s priority programs, including our Blue Hills Trailside Museum:
Trailside received $500,000, the amount we requested and a $200,000 increase compared to FY19
A long-awaited deeds fee increase that would restore needed Community Preservation Act funding was upheld, and an additional $20 million was directed to the CPA Trust Fund
Our recommended funding levels were met or exceeded for several Green Budget line items and the Mass Cultural Council (see table below)
The conference committee also included $2.19 million for state climate change adaptation programs
Now the budget is on its way to Governor Baker’s desk for
final approval. He can still veto line item funding, so help make sure he knows
Massachusetts residents value these programs! You can email his office
and encourage him to pass a budget that upholds funding levels for these
Mass Audubon will be submitting our own request to the
Governor as well.
Action You Can Take This Week: Compost for the Climate
Did you know food waste makes up one-quarter of our state’s trash? That means biodegradable, plant-based materials are needlessly ending up in landfills and contributing to climate change. But there’s an easy fix – composting. Pledge to start today!Did you know food waste makes up one-quarter of our state’s trash? That means biodegradable, plant-based materials are needlessly ending up in landfills and contributing to climate change. But there’s an easy fix – composting. Pledge to start today!
A curated selection of climate news from Mass Audubon’s climate change program manager
Our advocacy director Jack Clarke has been reappointed by Governor Baker to the Massachusetts Ocean Advisory Commission. The Commission provides guidance on implementation of the state Ocean Management Plan, along with other ocean management issues.
State Budget Update
The Massachusetts Senate passed their version of the FY20 budget last week, including amendments funding Mass Audubon’s Trailside Museum and a needed increase for the CPA Trust Fund. Next, the House and Senate budgets will be reconciled in conference committee
Fish and Game Day at the State House
Mass Audubon congratulates former state Senator, Representative, and Environmental Affairs Secretary Bob Durand on his recent appointment to the Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife Board.
Action You Can Take This Week: Support a Strong State Budget
The Massachusetts Senate begins debate on their version of the state budget tomorrow, and you can help make sure they strengthen funding for the Community Preservation Trust Fund and Mass Audubon’s Trailside Museum. Ask your Senator today to support amendments for CPA and for Trailside!
A curated selection of climate news from Mass Audubon’s climate change
This May, hundreds of valedictorians across the US will deliver the same commencement message on the need for climate action.
Boston makes the “A” list for cities leading the world on climate action!
The South Shore Climate Change Symposium, co-hosted by Mass Audubon’s North River Wildlife Sanctuary, was a successful day of idea sharing
Choosing Renewable Power for Boston
Incorporating renewable energy into local power choice programs helps communities take emission reductions into their own hands. We submitted comments on the City of Boston’s draft Community Choice Power Aggregation plan, urging them to adopt the strongest renewable component possible.
Speaking Up for Healthy Soils
We also submitted testimony with partners in support of legislation to promote healthy soils statewide. Soils are essential for life on earth, and policy makers have an important role to play in planning for their long-term health.
The Plastic Problem
Mass Audubon weighed in on this recent Cape Cod Times article on our plastic pollution problem – a global issue that includes significant impacts along Massachusetts coasts.
Next Steps Needed on Adaptation
We joined partners in supporting state legislation that would provide a needed framework – consistent, predictable policies and regulations – to support the progress Massachusetts has made so far on adaptation planning.
Last month, the state Senate approved an amendment to the FY18 state budget that would increase the state match for Community Preservation Act (CPA) communities. Without immediate action to adjust the recording fees at the state’s Registries of Deeds, the CPA Trust Fund distribution for the 172 participating communities will plunge to an all-time low of approximately 11% of locally-raised revenues in 2018.
When CPA was signed into law by Governor Cellucci in 2000, it was heralded as a true partnership between the Commonwealth and local communities. Today however, a large gap has developed between the approximately $150 million invested annually by the 172 CPA cities and towns and the $26 million contributed by the state. A nominal $25 adjustment in recording fees would increase the base CPA state match to approximately 32%, which is the historic average distribution over the last eight years.
A conference committee is now reconciling the House and Senate versions of the budget. Because the CPA amendment was only included in the Senate’s version of the budget, the House side of the conference committee must agree to keep it in the final version. We need to make sure this happens, and you can help!
Please call your state Representative and ask him/her to contact the offices of Speaker Robert DeLeo, Ways & Means Chairman Brian Dempsey, and the rest of the budget conference committee and encourage them to include the CPA Trust Fund increase in the final FY18 budget. You can let them know that increasing the Trust Fund will help advance land protection and sustainable development for communities across the Commonwealth.