DCR Stewardship Council Vacancy Update

By Doug Pizzi | February 6, 2019 In October we discussed the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Stewardship Council with an eye toward the process of filling vacancies on a 13-member advisory board that does not feature staggered terms. We emphasized the need to keep a contingent of experienced leadership, and that leadership’s institutional memory, on the Council to keep DCR moving forward along the path of recent successes. There’s some good news and not so good news on that front. But first, it’s important to point out that baked into the process is the fact that the original 2003 enabling legislation did not see fit to stagger the councilors’ seven-year terms. While the lag time between term expirations and new appointments has given some de-facto term staggering, it is theoretically possible to remove most existing councilors and replace them with new appointees in very short order. In recent months, the Baker Administration has appointed four new councilors to fill vacancies. Some of these vacancies are the result...
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Photos: Leominster State Forest

Conservationists must defeat Fitchburg-Westminster landfill expansion Recently MCV's Chuck Anastas and Doug Pizzi hiked the Ball Hill loop in Leominster State Forest. Pending legislation would remove 85 acres of land from the state forest in order to expand the Fitchburg-Westminster Land Fill. Enjoy these photos and read Doug's opinion piece opposing the landfill expansion in the Telegram & Gazette. Lower Crow Hill Pond, where families swim and picnic during the warmer months. Heading toward Berry Hill, elevation 1,185 feet. View from Black Bear Run where trucks were waiting to dump their loads at the Fitchburg-Westminster landfill. Read: Conservationists must defeat Fitchburg-Westminster landfill expansion ...
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DCR Stewardship Council Must Retain Experienced Leadership to Maximize Recent Successes

By Doug Pizzi | October 10, 2018 The state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Stewardship Council, which has legislatively mandated advisory and oversight authority over DCR operations, is going through a period of transition that, if not handled correctly, could diminish the Council’s ability to fulfill its role as envisioned in its enabling legislation. The 13-member volunteer Council, whose members serve seven-year terms, are appointed by the Governor. Currently there are three vacancies and four members whose terms expire in 2018. The terms of the councilors are not staggered, so a significant amount of institutional knowledge and expertise on DCR issues could leave the Council in rapid succession, severely limiting the its ability to fulfill its mission to the agency and the public. Combine that with the fact that over the past 15 years, the average tenure for a DCR Commissioner is a little more than two years, and you have the potential for a disaster. In 2003, the governor and legislature...
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Environmental non-profit changes name and mission to benefit state parks

BOSTON – As state funding continues to significantly decline for Massachusetts parks, beaches, forests and other protected areas, a new organization has formed to ensure the long-term viability of these critical places that play a major contribution to tourism, recreation, education and quality of life. Massachusetts Conservation Voters (MCV) will strive to keep voters and elected officials informed about the importance of supporting the operation, maintenance and improvement of our state’s open spaces, one of the first state park systems in the nation. “The state budget for environmental programs suffered devastating reductions during the Great Recession, and the Dept. of Conservation and Recreation still has not recovered from those losses, particularly from the impact of deferred maintenance,” said MCV’s Executive Director Doug Pizzi. “In a state that has one of the oldest and largest state parks systems, MCV is one of the few statewide organizations whose sole focus is on giving residents and visitors the world class public parks they deserve.” While there...
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Letter to The Honorable Jeffrey Sanchez

June 27, 2018 The Honorable Jeffrey Sanchez, Chairman House Committee on Ways & Means State House, Room 243 Boston, MA 02133 Dear Chairman Sanchez and House Ways & Means Members, We at Massachusetts Conservation Voters (MCV) wish to be on record as opposing passage of An Act Authorizing the Town of Westminster to Acquire State Forest Land (H-4677). MCV is a newly re-named statewide conservation and environmental education non-profit, formerly called the Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters, (MLEV) dedicated to protecting and improving our state-held open spaces, primarily those administered by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Converting this 85-acre parcel protected by Article 97 of the state Constitution from state forest land to expand a landfill would forever alter the forest and destroy a portion of the Ball Hill Trail, one of the more popular hiking trails in the forest, a large gem acquired by the state over a 30-plus-year period beginning in the 1920s. We respectfully request that the House Committee on Ways and Means reject...
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