Environmental & Energy Planning

Initiatives

Berkshire Brownfields Program

The Berkshire Brownfields Program was created in 2004 when the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) received its first grant from EPA to conduct environmental assessments at Brownfields sites. Since then, the Berkshire Brownfields Program has grown to include an Assessment Program for Phase I, II & III Environmental Site Assessments, a Revolving Loan Fund for Brownfields Cleanups, and site specific Cleanup Projects

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Clean Energy Programs

This web resource provides information on the clean energy programs that help make clean energy technology more affordable for residential customers in Massachusetts. Each program highlights the key program offerings and the first step for customers to take advantage of the program.

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Housatonic Rest of River Municipal Committee

The Rest of River Municipal Committee was created in 2013 to advocate common Housatonic River cleanup goals for Rest of River to the EPA. The Committee includes the towns of Great Barrington, Lee, Lenox, Sheffield, and Stockbridge. BRPC provides technical, fiduciary, facilitation, and coordination assistance to the Committee.

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Projects

Adams & North Adams - Mass Save Community First Partnership

BRPC is working with the Town of Adams, the City of North Adams, Berkshire Gas and National Grid to implement the Mass Save Community First Partnership. During the next two years, the team will work with a wide range of community-based organizations to plan and execute public education and outreach, such as marketing and/or participation in local events to drive measurable uptake in residential weatherization, residential heating system upgrades, and Small Business Turnkey program participation. Through the Mass Save Community First Partnership, the team will strive to better serve customers who have not participated in energy efficiency programs and who are in need of targeted approaches to increase access and participation.

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Berkshire Clean, Cold, and Connected Partnership

The Berkshire Cold, Clean, Connected Partnership is a collaboration with environmental organizations Housatonic Valley Association, Hoosic River Watershed Association, Farmington River Watershed Organizations, and Berkshire Environmental Action Team with the goal of catalyzing ecological restoration projects in Berkshire Rivers and Streams that protect cold-water fisheries, remove barriers to aquatic connectivity, and enhance clean, healthy rivers throughout Berkshire County. The partnership envisions a region that is ecologically resilient to climate change and a community that is interconnected with the health and well being of our watersheds. It aims to increasing the pace and scale of ecological restoration in The Berkshires by building the capacity of local municipalities and partner organizations to collaboratively restore degraded aquatic ecosystems and increase climate resiliency.

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Briggsville Water District - Land Acquisition

Briggsville Water District has been awarded funds through an MVP grant to enhance climate resilience of their drinking water source. They are using this project to acquire land uphill of the current well in order to relocate water storage outside the floodplain. This will also allow them to increase tank storage and update tank monitoring systems to manage water quality and increase drought resilience. The rest of the parcel will be used for open space.

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Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has established a Revolving Loan Fund to lend funds for clean up activities. This fund will provide subordinated loans and sub grants to enhance the credit worthiness of conventional or other traditional loans and funds and may fill funding gaps in the financial mix of a project.

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Cheshire Municipal Vulnerability Plan and Hazard Mitigation Plan

BRPC is working with the Town of Cheshire to complete a combined Hazard Mitigation and Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Plan. This plan will identify and prepare the town for hazards especially in terms of climate change. There will be a focus on the impact of historical events and vulnerabilities, as well as future actions needed to mitigate impacts on the town infrastructure, the environment, society, and vulnerable populations.

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Cheshire Stormwater Management Assistance

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is assisting the Town of Cheshire stay in compliance with the Phase II NPDES MS4 General Permit, which regulates stormwater runoff in the urbanized area of Cheshire.

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Clarksburg Drinking Water Grant Assistance

BRPC is helping assist the Briggsville Water District, which supplies drinking water to 10% of Clarksburg, MA, in identifying and developing grant applications to make necessary upgrades to the Red Springs water supply infrastructure.

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Clarksburg Four Corners Flood Resiliency and Restoration Project

BRPC is assisting Clarksburg build flood resiliency through a community-drive design process in the Four Corners area of Town. This area includes the main community's gathering places namely the Community/Senior Center, the Town Field, and Clarksburg School. The project will look at how the space can integrate stormwater infrastructure and redesign community assets to be more accessible and usable. Part of this project involves a Student Design Challenge in partnership with Clarksburg School and Flying Cloud, as well as community design charrette and ADA accessibility.

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Clarksburg Municipal Vulnerability Plan

As a follow-up to Clarksburg's Hazard Mitigation Planning, BRPC is serving the Town as their MVP Provider. As such, BRPC will guide Clarksburg in preparing for the impacts of climate change through a Community Resilience Building Workshop in which stakeholders will identify Climate Preparedness Actions.

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Dalton Stormwater Management

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will provide professional planning assistance to the Town of Dalton to maintain compliance with the NPDES Phase II MS4 General Permit.

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Decarbonizing Berkshire County Through Municipal Energy Self-Sufficiency

The Decarbonizing Berkshire County Through Municipal Energy Self-Sufficiency project aims to assist the region to get ahead of the curve and prepare for the future in the rapidly advancing areas of green energy. Through this project BRPC will work with participating communities to explore solar, battery storage, and EV charging from three perspectives relevant to municipalities: 1) regulatory/permitting; 2) long-range planning/siting; and 3) energy consumption (i.e., municipal solar, EV for municipal fleets). Through this project communities will be equipped to plan ahead and prepare for the future by identifying potential barriers, pitfalls, perverse incentives, as well as ways to intentionally incentivize certain types of development or design components. It is also critical for communities to get ahead of the curve in their role as an energy consumer.

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Great Barrington & Lee - Mass Save Community First Partnership

BRPC is working with the Towns of Great Barrington and Lee, Berkshire Gas, Eversource and National Grid to implement the Mass Save Community First Partnership. During the next two years, the team will work with a wide range of community-based organizations to plan and execute public education and outreach, such as marketing and/or participation in local events to drive measurable uptake in residential weatherization, residential heating system upgrades, and Small Business Turnkey program participation. Through the Mass Save Community First Partnership, the team will strive to better serve customers who have not participated in energy efficiency programs and who are in need of targeted approaches to increase access and participation.

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Great Barrington Brownfields Clean Up Project

The Town of Great Barrington Ried Cleaners Cleanup Grant is a competitive grant awarded to the Town of Great Barrington from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Through this project the Town of Great Barrington will hire environmental professionals to conduct remediation actions at the former Ried Cleaners property.  This project will follow work conducted by EPA Emergency Response.  BRPC will assist the Town to conduct programmatic activities necessary to carry out activities under the grant, including EPA reporting, procurement of a Licensed Site Professional and remediation contractors, community outreach, and general coordination with EPA under a Cooperative Agreement.

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Hancock Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaption Plan

BRPC is helping the Town of Hancock develop a FEMA approved Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan. This will determine the greatest risks to the town, how climate change exacerbates these risks, and develop actions to mitigate impacts. This process will also make the Town MVP Certified community.

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Healthy and Efficient Homes Pilot Project

The Healthy and Efficient Homes Pilot Project seeks to address indoor environmental hazards and energy efficiency issues in homes within the Morningside and Westside neighborhoods in Pittsfield. This project aims to improve the overall health and safety of housing units in response to the myriad of health inequities experienced by residents and common hazards found in older homes, especially those that have been poorly maintained. BRPC will partner with Habitat for Humanity as well as Berkshire Environmental Action Team, and engage with the City of Pittsfield Community Development and Health Departments to implement this program.

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Lanesborough Stormwater Management Support

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will provide professional planning assistance to the Town of Lanesborough to maintain compliance with the NPDES Phase II MS4 General Permit.

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Lee Hazard Mitigation and Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Planning

BRPC is assisting the Town of Lee to complete a FEMA and Massachusetts MVP State approved Hazard Mitigation Plan and Climate Adaptation Plan through the MVP Planning Process.

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MassCEC EmPower Implementation

BRPC is working with funding through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s EmPower program to expand awareness and access to Mass Save. During the next two years, the team will work with a wide range of community-based organizations and Towns throughout the Berkshires to plan and execute public education and outreach, such as marketing and/or participation in local events to drive measurable uptake in residential weatherization, residential heating system upgrades, and Small Business Turnkey program participation. Through this program we aim to bolster the support for existing Community First Partnership towns and expand access to the resources and support available through Mass Save. Our team will strive to better serve customers who have not participated in energy efficiency programs and who need targeted approaches to increase access and participation.

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Monterey Municipal Vulnerability Plan Action Grant

BRPC is assisting the Town of Monterey through their Phase II MVP Action Grant to replace the Route 23/Main St. Culvert near Town Hall. This project is a climate adaptation effort to make Town Hall and essential facilities less vulnerable to increased storms. Monterey is working with GZA to complete final engineering designs and permitting. BRPC is helping with outreach, project, and grant administration, including rain garden construction on private property and a climate resilience guide for homeowners.

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Nonpoint Source Regional Coordinator

The project goals are to provide services in support of the Nonpoint Source Program by assigning BRPC staff to serve as Regional Coordinator to conduct work that is focused on NPS. It will include a collaborative watershed-based planning approach across sub-watersheds, outreach and education efforts, identification and prioritization of regional NPS priorities, development of watershed-based plans, development and submittal of high-quality proposals for funding under the 319 competitive grant program, and any other activities that will further the goals of the Nonpoint Source Program especially objectives and milestones identified in the 2020-2024 Massachusetts Nonpoint Source Management Program Plan.

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Pittsfield Francis Ave Parklet and Routing Study

BRPC has partnered with the City of Pittsfield, Pittsfield Housing Authority, Central Berkshires Habitat for Humanity, and the Westside Community to create a climate resilient community parklet at the top of Francis Ave near the stairwell to West Street. The Francis Ave. parklet grew out of BRPC's Gray to Green initiative and resident feedback from 2020 about the path from Francis Ave. down the stairwell to the nearest grocery store on West Street. As part of the parklet the project will address persistent flooding at the top of the stairwell through stormwater infiltration designs. A safe walking routes study will explore changes to street and route design from Westside Community to the West Street corridor of resources including Big Y grocery store, pharmacies, and Greylock Bank.

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Regional Brownfields Assessment

The goal of the Brownfields Assessment Project is to target contaminated petroleum and hazardous waste sites in Berkshire County, leading to remediation and reuse. This project will retain and promote employment in core developed areas, protect the health and safety of traditional neighborhoods, and maintain the rural character of outlying areas. BRPC has been awarded $500,000 in EPA funding.

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Regional Energy Planning Assistance

Through the Regional Energy Planning Assistance (REPA) program, BRPC will augment the capacity of nine Berkshire County municipalities necessary to: 1) advance clean energy projects in under-resourced municipalities 2) expand regional school district participation in Green Communities and 3) help under-resourced municipalities pursue net-zero planning activities and regional clean energy projects. BRPC will provide clean energy planning and program management to the following Massachusetts municipalities: Adams, Becket, Clarksburg, Dalton, Great Barrington, Lanesborough, North Adams, West Stockbridge, and Williamstown.

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Rowe Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness

BRPC will assist Mass Audubon and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments to recruit stakeholders within Berkshire County members of the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership. BRPC will also participate in period meetings of the stakeholder group.

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Sandisfield Green Communities Heat Pump Installation

BRPC will provide grant administration assistance for a Green Communities Competitive Grant awarded to the Town by the MA Department of Energy Resources. The grant funds will be used for the installation of heat pumps at the Town Hall Annex and the library, which will off-set the current oil fuel boilers, which will remain in place solely as a backup heat source.  The heat pump systems will increase efficiency in the buildings while also reducing the Town’s dependence on fossil fuels.  In addition, the systems will result in a significant reduction in the Town’s heating cost.

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The Berkshire County Clean Air Project

The Berkshire County Clean Air Project will expand indoor and outdoor air monitoring within Berkshire County. BRPC, with its project partners, will engage all communities in Berkshire County containing EJ populations; BRPC will then obtain outdoor air sensors, equitably and collaboratively site them, and build capacity for ongoing community air quality monitoring. Indoor and outdoor sensor deployment will be accompanied by extensive community outreach and municipalities and local groups will utilize data to guide regional planning initiatives.

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Town of Monterey Hupi Road Drainage Improvements

BRPC is working with the Town of Monterey to install drainage infrastructure and stormwater control measures along a 1000-foot section of Hupi Rd., a dirt road within the Lake Garfield Watershed. The goal of this construction is to better manage stormwater pollution caused by sediment and phosphorus by improving drainage, managing sediments and infiltration local stormwater prior to it reaching Lake Garfield. BRPC will be helping manage grant, perform outreach, and secure subcontractors to do final engineering and permitting.

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Washington Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Planning

Having recently completed Hazard Mitigation Planning, BRPC will serve as the MVP provider for Washington to complete their Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Planning. This project will review the hazards and actions highlighted in the Hazard Mitigation Planning process and utilize the MVP Community Resilience Building Workshop process to further develop climate change mitigation actions.

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Williamstown & Lanesborough Mass Save Community First Partnership

BRPC is working with the Town of Williamstown, Berkshire Gas and National Grid to implement the Mass Save Community First Partnership. During the next three years, the team will work with a wide range of community-based organizations to plan and execute public education and outreach, such as marketing and/or participation in local events to drive measurable uptake in residential weatherization, residential heating system upgrades, and Small Business Turnkey program participation. Through the Mass Save Community First Partnership, the team will strive to better serve customers who have not participated in energy efficiency programs and who are in need of targeted approaches to increase access and participation.

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Reports

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