The leaping brook trout license plate has been available to motorists since 1998 and has funded grassroots conservation efforts through the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) for many years. Through a new agreement, the plate now also provides funding to the Fish and Wildlife Division (MassWildlife) to target high-priority restoration efforts in trout streams.
Eastern brook trout, the only type of wild trout native to Massachusetts, is listed as a species in greatest need of conservation in the Massachusetts State Wildlife Action Plan and needs cold, clean water to thrive. Brook trout are an important recreational resource for anglers, and their presence is considered an indicator of high quality coldwater habitat. Unfortunately, wild trout in Massachusetts are threatened by warming water temperatures, changes in stream flow, and disruptive human activities on the landscape, such as dams and culverts that block their movements.
“The conservation projects funded by the Brook Trout License Plate will complement and advance MassWildlife’s existing efforts to manage and restore cold-water habitats in Massachusetts,” said Todd Richards, Deputy Director of peaches from MassWildlife. “As climate change and habitat degradation increasingly threaten the habitats of wild trout and other cold water species, it is more important than ever to bring partners together to conserve these resources.
Half of the proceeds will go directly to MassWildlife for the conservation and management of cold-water fisheries resources, while the remaining funds are distributed through a grants program to other conservation partners engaged in management activities. that benefit brook trout and their habitats. Funds will be directed to high-priority projects, such as those developed to restore habitats and improve fish passage, improve knowledge of cold-water fisheries ecology, and address emerging issues such as climate change.
“The Massachusetts Environmental Trust is pleased to continue and refine its partnership with the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife on the brook trout license plate,” said RJ Lyman, president of the Massachusetts Environmental Trust. “The Trust has always focused its funding on public and not-for-profit initiatives to protect endangered species and critical habitats, in marine, estuarine and freshwater resource areas. More plaques means more protection! “
The plate is available through the Motor Vehicle Register to all motorists registering a vehicle in the Commonwealth. For motorists who already have a registered vehicle and who want this plate, they can visit Mass.gov/myRMV to order one. Like all special plates, the cost to the motorist is $40 every two years, in addition to the cost of a standard passenger plate every two years. MET also offers other specialized environmental plates including the Striped Bass Plate, Right Whale Plate and Blackstone Valley Plate.