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Mohawk Trail Woodlands, Forest Service Team Up on Conservation
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:33PM / Thursday, November 21, 2019
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BRPC's Tom Matuszko asks advisory board members to raise their hands as FRCOG's Executive Director Linda Dunlavy waits to speak. CHARLEMONT, Mass. — A shared stewardship agreement signed Thursday will bring U.S. Forest Service expertise to the state while keeping hundreds of thousands of acres of forestland in state and private hands.    The Mohawk Trail Woodland Partnership encompasses 361,941 acres of state and private land across 21 communities in the northwestern corner of the state. About 28 percent of that land is permanently protected. The partnership will enhance conservation and forest research and provide technical support for businesses that depend

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Windsor Receives $165k in Funding for Ecological Repairs
05:50PM / Tuesday, August 27, 2019
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The secretary also met with local officials during her trip to Western Mass, including a roundtable on Friday in Pittsfield.  WINDSOR, Mass. — The town of Windsor has been awarded $165,000 to replace a culvert on the East Branch of the Westfield River. Windsor's grant is largest of 16 awards targeting culvert replacement and river health and totaling $932,000.    Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides announced the grants at an event last week at Windsor State Forest, then visited the sites of two culvert projects in Windsor and Cummington that received grants. Also receiving funds were Clarksburg and

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Microcosm Holds Surprising Pollinators' Diversity
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
04:51PM / Sunday, August 25, 2019
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — During May and June at various sites in the Berkshires, close examination of the floral bloom reveals some welcome surprises regarding pollinating insects.   Just pretend to drop down in scale until you are a tiny person, like in "Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift, walking among the mushrooms and fleabanes in bold bloom towering above. What a dynamic environment is the microcosm surrounding you with its assorted insect fauna.   Before long you may encounter one of our smallest butterflies, a spring azure (Celastrina ladon) imbibing at red clover, appearing gigantic in reduced scale. Pause for awhile as you may become mesmerized

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Environment Secretary Visits Pittsfield
07:10PM / Friday, August 23, 2019
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides was in Pittsfield on Friday to review a state-funded culvert site and meet with local officials to discuss the state's climate readiness program.    She joined Mayor Linda Tyer at the Churchill Street culvert, a site which recently received grant funding through the state's Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. The city was awarded an $814,524 state grant in June for the Churchill Brook and West Street Culvert Replacement Project.   Through the MVP program, which begun in 2017, municipalities identify key climate-related hazards, vulnerabilities and

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Pittsfield's Renewable Energy Work Highlighted
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:20AM / Tuesday, July 30, 2019
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Ben Lamb from 1Berkshire said renewable energy is not only good for the environment but it is good economic development. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city is still looking at what it would take to create a new micro-grid for energy in the city's downtown.   Supported by a $75,000 states grant, a feasibility study has been ongoing to create the grid that would connect key buildings, including the Fire Department, Berkshire Medical Center, the senior center and senior housing units, and downtown businesses to power in case of an emergency.   And, it will increase the capacity for renewable energy sources.   But that is only one step the city has taken in recent years

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Outdoor Marijuana Grow Moves One Step Further In Pittsfield Permitting
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:04AM / Wednesday, July 10, 2019
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — EOS Farms LLC. is one step closer toward creating a large outdoor grow operation for marijuana products.   The company, headed by Suehiko Ono, is planning to lease 12 acres of farmland near 973 Barker Road to grow the plant. The company has already received local permits to transform the former Royal Cleaners on Tyler Street into a marijuana retailer and manufacturing operation. The growing will provide the product to that operation.   EOS received a blessing from the Community Development Board Monday night for the operations. According to Engineer Brent White, the location is already mostly hidden from public view and will be using the existing tree

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Restoration of Springside Pond Plan Moves To Permitting Process
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:57AM / Wednesday, June 19, 2019
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The section colored in red, closer to Springside Avenue, is where the work will be focused. The section colored in blue will be left mostly the same to avoid removing a lot of sediment.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The design efforts to restore Springside Pond is entering the permitting phase.   Parks and Open Spaces Manager Jim McGrath updated the Parks Commission on Tuesday about the progress and said the city will be seeking permits from the Conservation Commission in the coming weeks.   However, the project itself is going to be costly and a funding source has not been identified.    "It is an expensive project, no question about it, but this is the

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Farley-Bouvier, Hinds Chat Environmental Issues At Pittsfield Forum
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:22AM / Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state hopes to see more renewable energy from solar so it's incentivizing development.   However, the way the programs are currently established, solar often comes at the expense of cutting trees.   "We have perverse incentives for solar. It is cheaper for a  developer to come in and cut down a whole bunch of trees to do something for the environment," state Rep. Farley-Bouvier said.   The Pittsfield Democrat would like to see a shift in the way the projects are located. She said there are acres of rooftops available without solar but yet large scale projects go into wooded areas. Even in her neighborhood, there is a large

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Historic Lanesborough Elm Tree Receives Maintenance, Inspection
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:26PM / Monday, April 22, 2019
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The Tree and Forest Committee believes the tree may be the most recognized elm tree in all of Berkshire County. It had previously been the largest in the entire state. LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Towering more than an estimated 107 feet tall with a wide spanning canopy, King Elmer is in the running for the biggest American elm tree in the state.   On Monday, Race Mountain Tree Service arborists were climbing high into the Summer Street tree for some ongoing maintenance.   The company was trimming to remove dead branches and assessing the health of the tree to allow it to continue to grow.   "We're going to be looking at all of the places there are openings in

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MassWildlife Offers Tips for Dealing With Aggressive Turkeys
Staff Reports,
11:53AM / Thursday, April 18, 2019
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BOSTON — The state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is offering some tips for dealing with aggressive wild turkeys.    A woman in Cambridge was recently injured when a flock of turkeys began pecking at her legs; aggressive turkeys have also been reported and recorded in in Foxboro and Brookline.    There's more room for humans and turkeys to co-exist in the Berkshires but residents should still be aware of turkey behavior if there's an encounter.    MassWildlife says:   March through May is breeding season for wild turkeys and as a result, there is an increase in turkey activity all across the commonwealth. Some turkeys may be seen acting

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