Environmental & Energy Planning

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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environmental-energy-planning

Projects

Access to Clean Energy Technology

BRPC has received a grant from the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) through the Affordable Access to Regional Coordination Program (AARC Program) to increase and institutionalize knowledge of clean energy technologies and programs (including clean energy programs focused on low income residents or low income/affordable housing)  through capacity-building, education, coordination, or training at the local level, thereby expanding the reach of successful programs and improving access to clean energy technology for the Commonwealth’s low income residents.

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Adams Brownfields Assessment Project

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) is working with the Town of Adams to serve as grant manager for their community-wide Brownfields Assessment Grant. The US EPA has awarded the Town of Adams a $400,000 grant to conduct environmental assessments targeting the Rt. 8 Corridor including sites such as 50 & 26 Commercial Street, Curtis Fine Papers, Hoosac Valley Coal & Grain, and 5-7 Hoosac Street.

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Adams Brownfields Clean Up Project

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will assist the Town of Adams to manage an EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant to remediate the Hoosac Valley Coal and Grain site. Environmental investigations performed to date have revealed petroleum contaminated soil located down to depths of approximately 10 feet along with coal across/near the surface of a portion of the property. A geophysical survey conducted in October 2017 identified an underground storage tank (UST) near the southern portion of the Site near the Hoosic River. Site cleanup will include demolition of the two former building foundations, abatement of hazardous building materials (i.e., asbestos, lead-based paint, PCBs), removal of petroleum and coal-contaminated soils, removal of a UST, and implementation of a new Activity and Use Limitation (AUL).

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Adams Green Communities - Energy Efficiency Projects

BRPC is providing assistance to the Town of Adams to manage a competitive grant for various energy efficiency projects awarded to the Town by the MA Department of Energy Resources (DOER). BRPC will provide grant administration, interface with DOER, serve as a liaison between the contractor and the Town, and develop outreach materials.

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Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund

The 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 Green Communities Competitive Grant Administrative Assistance

BRPC is working with the Town of Cheshire to select energy efficiency projects that it will implement using it’s designation grant funds through the Green Communities program. Once projects are selected, BRPC will assist the town with grant reporting requirements, a public relations campaign, contractor management, analyzing the town’s municipal energy usage, and other general Green Communities program maintenance.

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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 Support

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is assisting the Town of Cheshire in staying 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 Green Communities Weatherization & Lighting Project

BRPC is providing assistance to the Town of Clarksburg to manage a competitive grant for a weatherization and lighting project awarded to the Town by the MA Department of Energy Resources (DOER). This project includes energy efficiency measures implemented at the Town Hall and the Elementary School. BRPC will provide grant administration, interface with DOER, serve as a liaison between the contractor and the Town, and develop outreach materials.

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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

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will provide professional planning assistance to the Town of Dalton for the purpose of providing assistance and guidance to the Town Manager and the Stormwater Management Commission to implement the Town of Dalton Stormwater Management Plan and maintain compliance with the NPDES Phase II General Permit.

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Design and Implementation Plans for Phosphorus Reduction in Lake Garfield

This project is in collaboration with the Town of Monterey to address nonpoint source pollution of sediment and phosphorus coming from a section of Hupi Road into Lake Garfield. BRPC is providing grant support and outreach while the Town is working with the engineering firm Foresight Land Services to design conceptual treatment Best Management Practices.

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EmPower Pilot

BRPC has received a grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Technology Center (MassCEC) EmPower Massachusetts (EmPower) Program to lead an effort collaborating with the City of Pittsfield, Berkshire Environmental Action Team, Center for EcoTechnology, and Berkshire Community Action Council. The grant will be used to perform research on the mechanisms for addressing the landlord/renter split incentive challenge which includes an analysis of Pittsfield’s market conditions, researching nationwide case studies for related program models and tools to address the challenges, options for energy efficiency, development of an outreach and education campaign for landlords and renters, and seeking potential local energy efficiency coaches.

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Forest Resilience Carbon Storage Practices

The objective of this project is to assist the MTWP municipalities and landowners in achieving greater resilience of the forests to withstand climate change by implementing a suite of best practices to mitigate and adapt to climate change through forest management activities that increase tree retention and growth, enhance species diversity and reduce forest threats.

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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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Great Barrington Green Communities Competitive Grant Program

Grant funds will be used for energy efficiency measures at two municipal buildings. BRPC will provide administrative support to the Town for the activities conducted under the grant and the greater Green Communities program. BRPC will also provide outreach and publicity related to the grant and/or projects in the form of a press release issued by the Town, a municipal/school newsletter article, and a newspaper article or equivalent based on relevant Town communication channels.

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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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Housatonic Stream Restoration for Regional Flood Resilience

Four communities (Lenox, Pittsfield, Stockbridge, and New Marlborough) will embark on regional, community-wide culvert assessments of approximately 400 culverts, and design the replacement of three priority culverts. A unique feature to this project is the component of youth development—youth from Environmental Justice communities will be hired to conduct the assessments. Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) is supporting this project by providing overall grant administration and acting as the community liaison during outreach activities.

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Housatonic Valley Association - Berkshire Clean, Cold, 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.

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Housatonic Valley Association - Churchill Brook Culvert Replacement

BRPC is collaborating with the Housatonic Valley Association to do outreach using the Churchill St. culvert in Pittsfield as a example culvert replacement project. BRPC will be assisting by performing a needs assessment and promoting workshop participation county-wide.

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Housatonic Valley Association - Municipal Culvert Replacement Cooperative

BRPC is working with the Housatonic Valley Association to develop a regional Culvert Replacement Cooperative. As part of this, BRPC will determine the feasibility of group purchasing for culvert replacements and connect with county communities and local highway superintendents to assess the challenges and long-term benefits of culvert replacement according to Massachusetts Road-Stream Crossing Standards. 

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Lanesborough Stormwater Management Plan Support

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will provide professional planning assistance to the Town of Lanesborough for the purpose of providing assistance and guidance to the Town Manager and the Department of Public Works to implement the Town of Lanesborough Stormwater Management Plan and maintain compliance with the NPDES Phase II General Permit.

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Mt. Washington Hazard Mitigation Plan

BRPC is working with the Town of Mount Washington to complete a combined Hazard Mitigation and Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Plan. This plan will not only identify and prepare the town for current hazards but look forward to how climate change will impact emergency preparedness needs, the environment, and vulnerable populations in the area.

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Mt. Washington Municipal Vulnerability Plan

BRPC is working with the Town of Mount Washington to complete a combined Hazard Mitigation and Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Plan. This plan will not only identify and prepare the town for current hazards but look forward to how climate change will impact emergency preparedness needs, the environment, and vulnerable populations in the area.

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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 subwatersheds, outreach and education efforts, identification and prioritization ofregional 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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North Adams Brownfields Assessment Project

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will work with the City of North Adams to serve as grant manager for their Community-wide Brownfields Assessment Grant. The US EPA has awarded the City of North Adams a $300,000 grant to conduct environmental assessments targeting the Route 2/Mohawk Trail Corridor, specifically a 1 mile stretch of commercial/industrial development between the eastern gateway and the downtown. The core of the Target Area is a former textile mill (Delftree) which was originally part of the Eclipse Mills and a former factory (Barber Leather).

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North Adams Green Communities Competitive Grant Administrative Assistance

BRPC is assisting the City of North Adams in managing the funding it received to make energy efficiency upgrades to municipal buildings and vehicles through the Green Communities Competitive Grant program. Projects include weatherization and insulation at City Hall, weatherization at the Public Safety complex, a LED lighting upgrade at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, a transformer upgrade at the Vietnam Veterans Ice Rink, and partial funding towards the purchase of a hybrid police cruiser, which are estimated to save a combined 681 MMBTU of energy and $26,197 annually. BRPC will assist the City with grant reporting requirements, a public relations campaign, contractor management, and analyzing the City’s municipal energy usage.

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Otis Hazard Mitigation Plan

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will provide technical and planning services to assist Otis in preparing a Hazard Mitigation Plan to meet the requirements of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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Otis Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Plan

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will aid the Town of Otis in completing the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) planning process to achieve MVP community designation and prepare a Town Hazard Mitigation Plan.

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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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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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West Stockbridge Green Communities

BRPC is providing assistance to the Town of West Stockbridge to manage their Green Communities designation grant awarded to the Town by the MA Department of Energy Resources (DOER). BRPC will provide grant administration, interface with DOER, serve as a liaison between contractors and the Town, and develop outreach materials.

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Williamstown - Mohawk Trail Woodland Partnership Forest Stewardship, Resilience & Climate Adaptation MVP Action Grant

The objective is to assist the Mohawk Trail Woodland Partnership municipalities and landowners in achieving greater resilience pf the forests to withstand climate change by implementing a suite of best practices to mitigate and adapt to climate change through forest management activities that increase tree retention and growth, enhance species diversity and reduce threats.

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Williamstown 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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environmental-energy-planning

Reports

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