FRCOG completes regional pollinator, stormwater management plans

  • A bee dives into the center of a dandelion flower collecting pollen in Greenfield. The Franklin Regional Council of Governments worked with Greenfield, Heath, Shelburne, Conway, Bernardston, Montague, Wendell and Orange to develop a Regional Pollinator Action Plan. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 9/21/2021 3:59:07 PM

Two major projects relating to a Regional Pollinator Action Plan and a Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan for Franklin County have been completed by the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG).

Regional Pollinator Action Plan for Franklin County

Native pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps, bats and hummingbirds, are critical to the health and climate resiliency of ecosystems, but are threatened by habitat loss, invasive species, pesticides, disease and parasites. With funding from the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, FRCOG worked with Greenfield, Heath, Shelburne, Conway, Bernardston, Montague, Wendell and Orange to develop a Regional Pollinator Action Plan.

“The plan is expandable so that with additional funding and interest from other Franklin County towns, regional pollinator corridors can be extended across the county,” FRCOG Land Use and Natural Resources Planning Program Manager Kimberly Noake MacPhee explained. “Local-level strategies such as these are needed to respond to climate change, habitat loss and declining populations of wild, native pollinator species. The sustainability of our local ecosystems, farms and food systems is linked to pollinators.”

According to a press release from Noake MacPhee, the project included developing a map of pollinator habitats and potential connections; recommendations for ways that communities can amend land use regulations to better support pollinator habitats through native plantings and pollinator-friendly landscape management practices; and the development of a Pollinator Habitat Corridor Implementation Toolkit.

The full Regional Pollinator Action Plan for Franklin County, the Regional Pollinator Habitat Corridor Implementation Toolkit and the eight individual town plans are available on FRCOG’s website at bit.ly/3tKAsu4.

Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan

Managing stormwater runoff is increasingly difficult with the more frequent and intense storms. According to Noake MacPhee, stormwater management involves practices that capture, clean and store water on site, close to where it falls, reducing runoff and improving air quality.

The Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan for Franklin County, which can be found at bit.ly/2YTYlnH, includes a full project report and three Stormwater Technical Reports, which document 18 stormwater site assessments and conceptual designs for stormwater best management practices in nine pilot communities in Franklin County. These case studies for Downtown Revitalization projects (Greenfield, Orange and Erving), Complete Streets projects (Deerfield, Northfield and Montague) and Rural Roads projects (Ashfield, Leverett and New Salem) can help other towns interested in using sustainable stormwater management practices.

The full project report describes the planning approach developed by FRCOG for identifying and assessing typical road drainage settings in Franklin County where best management practices are needed to reduce flooding; polluted stormwater entering rivers and streams; and stresses on local towns’ aging drainage and transportation infrastructure. A countywide analysis inventoried the sensitive areas potentially impacted by stormwater runoff.

“This information can help identify and inform future assessment and (best management practices) implementation projects,” Noake MacPhee explained. “Common barriers to stormwater (best management practices) implementation and key lessons learned were documented through close collaboration with highway superintendents and town administrators. Plan recommendations discuss funding and implementation opportunities for towns so that future transportation and development projects can be leveraged to include more sustainable stormwater management practices.”

FRCOG staff members also prepared a story map for the project: bit.ly/FCStormwater.

For more information on either of these projects, contact Kimberly Noake MacPhee at kmacphee@frcog.org.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.




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