The RFR states that Landowners are responsible for complying with all state and federal regulations. Could you elaborate on this?

It is the Landowner's responsibility to comply with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations. DFW will be able to provide a supportive role; however, it will be up to the landowner to obtain any necessary permits, file cutting plans, or do anything else that may be applicable to their particular project. DFW will not obtain these permits or file plans for the landowner. DFW will assist the landowner by providing advice and/or support; however, it is important for landowners to follow the traditional channels.

Concern about compliance should not prevent a landowner from submitting proposals. All landowners planning on conducting any projects on their land must comply with local, state, and federal laws and regulations regardless of funding source. Compliance is not required just because the landowner is receiving state or federal funding.

How would the landowner know if they are in compliance?

There are many local, state, and federal resources available to landowners to determine if their planned activities might conflict with State and Federal laws and regulations. A good place to begin might be with your local town officials (ex. conservation commission) or your contractor. There can be variability in town/city requirements. Your local conservation commission or local contractors will likely be familiar with regulations that directly relate to your town. Landowners are also encouraged to seek advice from state agencies such as MEPA Office, DCR, CZM, DEP, DFW (Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program for MESA review). Private consultants are another resource available to landowners.

Regarding compliance, the RFR makes specific reference to the Section 106 of the Historic Preservation Act , National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species act. Will DFW help to conduct these reviews?

There are 3 federal law reviews (Section 106 Historical, NEPA, and ESA Section 7 reviews) that the DFW must submit to the US Fish and Wildlife Service in order to receive federal funding. Since these reviews require the signature of the Director of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, DFW will conduct these reviews. The NEPA checklist review may likely require a collaborative effort between DFW staff and the landowner.

What happens if I sell the property?

The new landowner is subject to the same requirements of the old landowner. The covenant the applicant signs showing their commitment to keep the parcel in the continued land use is filed with the deed. Filing with the Registry of Deeds is the responsibility of the applicant and cost can be reimbursed if it is within the grant period. MassWildlife requires proof that the covenant has been filed with the Registry.

Can you explain what happens if I break the terms of the Grant Agreement?

Are there damages beyond simply repaying the money that I have taken form LIP? If a landowner breaks the Grant Agreement for the practices agreed upon in the management plan, the landowner will not be reimbursed.

What if I break the registered covenant to keep the LIP Project Area in the same landuse?

Breach of the covenant is a serious matter and the landowner will be held accountable for damages. The covenant is a legal document that will be filed with the Registry of Deeds and runs with the land.

Do these lands have to be open to hunting if we are successful in getting an application approved?

You are only obligated to the terms of your contract.

Do I have to allow Public Access to receive LIP funding?

No. Public access for hiking, fishing and/or hunting and other recreational activities will give you a higher rank in the application process but it is not required.

What if I allow public access and something happens on my property to someone? Am I liable for anything?

Any landowner permitting use of his property for recreation without charging a fee is not liable for injuries to recreational user or their property except in cases of willful, wanton or reckless conduct by the owner (Chapter 21, Section 17C MGL).

Do landowners need special insurance to be eligible for LIP?

No.

Would I lose points if there was no way that public access could be provided to my land?

Land might be surrounded by railroad tracks, interstate highway etc. You will never lose points. With the Ranking Criteria, you will be awarded points for certain things, but we wouldn't take any away. That said, land with public access will rank higher than those with out it.

Will you take an application for a wetlands restoration?

In this first year we are focused on early succession forest, old fields, grasslands and other upland habitats. We will accept applications for wetlands restoration. However, you need to have all the necessary permits prior to applying.

Can we preempt local conservation commission authority to get needed permits for a project?

No.

We have a mosaic habitat including wetlands. Would this land be eligible for LIP. What about compliance issues?

This land would be eligible for a grant if it ranks high enough. Compliance issues will arise and you must have all your permits before applying.