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Drought Conditions Worsen in CT River Valley

On Tuesday, August 9th, MA Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Beth Card escalated the Connecticut River Valley to a Level 3-Critical Drought.

View water conservation tips, continue to follow any local city or town conservation restrictions, and monitor the drought status at:

Summer Tick Safety Materials

From the Cooperative Public Health Service Team:

With the warmer weather, ticks are out-and-about. Ticks can transmit diseases to humans when they bite; the longer a tick remains attached to the skin, the higher the likelihood that it may spread bacteria that cause tick-borne illnesses.

In recent years, more than 34% of local deer ticks tested positive for Lyme and more than 5% for anaplasmosis, the two tick-borne diseases occurring most frequently in the Franklin County region. Although only deer ticks (aka black-legged ticks) can transmit Lyme and anaplasmosis, other ticks should be avoided because they can transmit less common diseases.

Luckily, there are many things we can do to prevent tick-borne diseases:

  • When outdoors, stick to hiking trails, wear light-colored clothing (to see ticks) and tuck in loose ends.
  • Make a habit of checking yourself, your children, and pets for ticks after coming inside. Think like a tick: ticks often hitch a ride after physical contact with brushy plants—start by checking feet, ankles, legs and any place below the belt, and work your way upwards.
  • Use tick repellents, like DEET (designed for skin) and pre-treat clothing, including socks and shoes, with permethrin (not to be put on skin). Permethrin is invisible and odorless and stays effective in fabric through many washings. Using both repellents together is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Defense (DOD).
  • Find more prevention information at and at

    Removing a tick: If you have been bitten (the tick is attached to your skin), remove the tick with fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible, and pull with steady, even force. Wash the bite area and continue to check for several weeks; if you develop flu-like symptoms or a rash, see your primary care provider.

    Testing a tick:  You can identify how risky a tick is at you need to test the tick for tick-borne diseases, save the tick in a small, plastic bag. Log on to and follow the mailing instructions.  Thanks to the local Boards of Health and the FRCOG, many residents need only pay $15 of the full $50 cost of getting a tick tested.

Flyers for download and sharing:

It’s MUD SEASON! Tell us about your Dirt/Gravel Roads!

It’s MUD SEASON! Tell us about your Dirt/Gravel Roads!

The FRCOG is working with Rep. Natalie Blais to better understand the conditions of our communities’ unpaved roads and the effort/cost that goes into their maintenance and repair every year. To help with this effort, the FRCOG has created an interactive online map in which anyone can add points to show the location of known issue spots on your dirt/gravel roads:

Mark the map with locations that have reoccurring maintenance issues or that are in need of repair.   You can also upload photos and details.

Your input will help State Rep. Blais make her case in Boston about the needed funding for Western Mass unpaved roads!  For more information, contact Senior Transportation & Land Use Planner, Megan Rhodes at or (413) 774-3167 x132.


Regional Pedestrian Plan for Franklin County is Available Online

Regional Pedestrian Plan for Franklin County

The Regional Pedestrian Plan for Franklin County is completed and available online at Pedestrian Plan for Franklin County 2021.

The plan provides a comprehensive resource that identifies tools and strategies for developing pedestrian-related infrastructure improvements in Franklin County. It is intended to inspire and encourage towns to consider pedestrian accessibility whenever feasible.  For an overview of the contents of the plan, the presentation given at the public review meeting held on September 8, 2021, is available here.

For further information, please contact Senior Transportation Planner II, Beth Giannini at

Celebrating Safely: Winter Gathering Guidance

The winter gatherings safety poster is available in color and black and white PDFs for printing as well as a JPEG for digital sharing below.

winter gatherings safety tip sheet 2021 color

winter gatherings safety tip sheet 2021 greyscale

Public Review of the Draft Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership Recreation Map and Inventory

Through a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation for the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership area, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) and the Franklin Region Council of Governments (FRCOG) are developing an inventory and online map of the recreational assets in the 21-town partnership area. At this time, BRPC and FRCOG are looking for feedback on the draft inventory and map, which are available in the following links.

Map of MTWP Recreation Inventory:

Berkshire County Recreation Inventory (northern portion of county):

Franklin County Recreation Inventory (western portion of county):

Please give us your comments and corrections by May 31st to:

Franklin County:
Beth Giannini, Franklin Region Council of Governments


MA Drought Alert

Please be aware that Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides declared a Level 1-Mild Drought in all seven regions of the Commonwealth. Please see  MA Drought Alert – December 2020 for information on the current drought conditions and how communities can mitigate and prepare for long-term drought impacts.

For more information on the current drought conditions, and technical guidance regarding drought management actions, please visit



COVID-19 Data and Updates

For an archive of all the emails sent by the state on re-opening, click here
For a Franklin County data dashboard from the Public Health Institute of Western MA, click here.
For the state’s COVID data page, click here.
For the latest situation reports from the MA COVID Command Center, click here.
For the COG’s COVID Municipal Resources Page click here.
For the COG’s Board of Health COVID Resources Page click here.
For local public health COVID case management contacts (public health nurses), click here. 
For the Region 1 Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition, click here.
For resources and guidance for businesses, organizations, entrepreneurs, and job seekers, click here.

Click here for testing resources



To read the FRCOG’s Municipal Leader COVID-19 updates: