Riparian Conservation Grant Program
Over the next 5 years, the Committee’s goal is to conserve and protect 75 miles of rivers and streams in the watershed and support 15 riparian conservation projects. The Riparian Conservation & Stewardship Grant Program is designed to encourage stewardship of riparian lands and to support transaction costs leading to their long-term protection. Funds provided through the program are intended to cover transaction fees, including title reviews, appraisals, legal fees and other closing costs, registry fees, surveys baseline reports, monitoring plans and funds, land protection estate planning and other related fees.
Any property which borders the Westfield River Wild & Scenic reaches or tributaries. Projects located within the 10 Wild & Scenic towns (Becket, Chester, Chesterfield, Cummington, Huntington, Middlefield, Savoy, Washington, Windsor or Worthington) will receive priority ranking.
Public or private organizations, such as town boards and land conservation non-profits, can apply.
Private landowners interested in conservation of their riparian lands are encouraged to inquire about project eligibility and/or to work in collaboration with their local town boards and land conservation non-profits to apply.
The Committee will consider the following priorities when evaluating land conservation projects for grant funding:
- Demonstrated community and landowner support for land conservation
- Threat of development or change in use that would have significant adverse impacts on conservation resources
- Connectivity to or between existing protected lands
- Ecological significance, especially riparian values: important habitats, ecosystems, water resources, uncommon natural communities, critical soils, unique geology and land forms
- Cultural significance: historic, scenic, working land and recreational value
- Presence or significance of other Wild & Scenic resources: wildlife habitat, geological features, recreational access, ridgelines, scenic landscapes, increased riparian buffers or floodplain protection
- Hydrological connection: either immediately adjacent or significant contributing water feature (e.g. tributary, wetland, etc) to the Wild & Scenic river reaches
- Feasibility of implementation: available resources, capacity to secure long-term protection, ability to matchor leverage funding
- Ability of funds to enable project to happen
Projects approved for funding will receive up to $10,000 per grant cycle. Funds must be spent by September 30, 2014.
Contact Carrie Banks, Westfield River Wild & Scenic Coordinator, at (413) 579-3015 to discuss potential land conservation projects.
Once a project is determined to be eligible, then proponent will need to submit 1-2 pages describing the project and how it meets the grant guidelines. The Committee reviews riparian conservation grant applications on a quarterly basis and will fund projects based on the availability of funds.