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Massachusetts Healthy Soils Action Plan

Massachusetts Healthy Soils Action Plan

Regenerative Design Group has been awarded a contract to lead a robust planning process for protecting and enhancing all soils across Massachusetts. The Project Team includes Linnean Solutions, a Cambridge, MA-based firm that helps communities and organizations reach sustainability and resilience goals; Eric Toensmeier, carbon farming expert and contributor to Project Drawdown; Caro Roszell, Soil Carbon Program Manager at NOFA/Mass; and Marty Dagoberto, Policy Director at NOFA/Mass, and contributor to the proposed MA Healthy Soils Program now being considered by the legislature.

Expanding Support for Healthy Soils

This project was initiated by The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) and the Commission for Conservation of Soil, Water, & Related Resources. Over the past decade, several states have taken on healthy soils initiatives, mostly focused on agricultural lands. This project will learn from those initiatives, and expand the scope to include all land uses in Massachusetts.

Several states have introduced Healthy Soils Initiatives over the past decade, as a way to mitigate and reverse rapid rates of soil loss and degradation; support healthy waterways; and build resiliency to climate change. All have focused primarily on agricultural lands.

 

Throughout the planning process, we will engage a diverse array of stakeholders across the Commonwealth to inform The Massachusetts Healthy Soils Action Plan – a blueprint for improving soil and land management practices for all land uses across the state. The blueprint will help land owners and managers to implement practices that reduce erosion and carbon emissions, improve production, increase carbon storage, and build resilience to extreme weather events. The plan will also support policy makers, regulators, and program administrators in shaping current and future soil-related efforts to help the Commonwealth achieve its climate change and resiliency goals.

The Massachusetts Healthy Soils Action Plan will consider all land uses across the Commonwealth. The top three land covers by percentage are Forest, Wetland, and Impervious.

Project Goals

The primary goals of this planning process are as follows:

+ Understand the current state of science around soil health;

+ Understand the current state, and likely future trends, of land use;

+ Understand the range of soil health practices – and opportunities and challenges for implementation of best practices – for all land uses in Massachusetts;

+ Inventory the various programs for funding and assistance on the topic of soil health;

+ Illuminate key issues and priority actions related to improving soil health in MA; and

+ Develop an educational outreach strategy and report from this investigation that helps land managers and policy makers make decisions that increase soil health and all related benefits.

Over the 18-month planning process, there will be many opportunities for stakeholders to participate. All meetings will be open to the public and announced well in advance to ensure robust participation. (Updates added here.)

Questions about the planning process and timeline can be sent to Genevieve Lawlor, RDG Associate Designer and Outreach Coordinator, at genevieve@rdgland.com

 

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