Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Public Comment Period on Watershed Assessment

All City Northampton water supply property (except two recently acquired parcels totaling 8 acres) have MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) approved Forest Stewardship Plans.  Additionally, this property is enrolled in Green Certification through the MA DCR Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Group Certification.

FSC is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that promotes the responsible management of the world’s forests. Forest certification is a third party auditing system of forest management practices.  The principles and criteria established by FSC promote ecologically beneficial, socially responsible, economically viable forest management practices.

Per FSC policy, DCR is required to complete a High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) Assessment for all properties enrolled in the MA DCR FSC Group. HCVFs are forest areas that need to be appropriately managed in order to maintain or enhance identified High Conservation Values (HCVs).  HCVs encompass exceptional or critical ecological attributes, ecosystem services, and social functions.  Under certification, areas identified as HCVFs may be harvested, but management activities must maintain or enhance the HCVs present.  As the forest on Northampton water supply property functions as source water protection to the City’s drinking water supply it is considered a HCVF.

Copies of the HCVF Assessments, MA DCR’s Description of the System for Identifying and Maintaining High Conservation Value Forests on Member Properties, and the FSC-US Draft High Conservation Value Forest Assessment Framework can be viewed here.

FSC policy requires that these Assessments and documents be available to the public for review.  Hard copies are available at the Department of Public Works located at 125 Locust Street, Northampton, MA and will be available for review and comment until September 9th.

All comments should be provided in writing and sent to Donna LaScaleia, Director, Northampton DPW, 125 Locust Street, Northampton, MA.