Mount Grace gets $589K grant for conservation efforts in Orange, Warwick, Royalston

  • Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, which just secured a $589,000 grant for conservaton efforts, celebrated its 35th anniversary in June. A hike was part of the event. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer
Published: 9/6/2021 1:33:53 PM
Modified: 9/6/2021 1:33:57 PM

Three towns in the North Quabbin region are set to benefit from a $589,350 grant the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust will receive from the state.

The conservation trust will use the money to facilitate the conservation of 750 acres in the Millers River watershed in Orange, Warwick and Royalston, according to Executive Director Emma Ellsworth.

“It’s actually going to primarily go to private landowners (to) help them protect their land, protect their legacies,” she explained this week, adding that this work is a “dream of decades” for some landowners.

The conservation trust is working with Mass Audubon on the Greater Gales Brook Conservation Project to protect waterways of the Millers River that sustain flora, fauna, and eco-tourism. More than 70% of the project is critical natural landscape, which according to the state are areas better equipped to support ecological processes, disturbances and wide-ranging species.

“We’ve never worked with Mass Audubon on a project of this scale before,” Ellsworth said.

She said it is a matching grant, and the conservation trust has $199,000 left to raise. Ellsworth said the trust plans to try to generate this money with a combination of direct fundraising in the community and applying for other foundation grants.

The $589,350 is part of $2 million in grant money the Baker-Polito administration announced last week to protect critical landscapes and local drinking water supply in nine cities and towns across the state. The other communities to benefit are Barnstable, Cambridge, Dighton, Sandwich, Springfield and Tyringham.

“As communities across the commonwealth continue to experience the impacts of climate change, it is vital that we work together through state and local partnerships to make Massachusetts more resilient and protect critical infrastructure,” said Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement. “Financial assistance is a critical asset for communities as they seek to secure local drinking water supplies and protect them from the impacts of climate change, and our Administration is working to build on this funding through our proposal to put federal ARPA funds to immediate use in cities and towns across the Commonwealth.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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