Is there any flexibility with the budget during the contract?

There is some flexibility with the budget. However, we will not increase the grant awarded amount. We will not reimburse beyond the amount agreed upon in the contract. We will not pick up the tab for poor cost estimation.

What are allowable costs?

Allowable costs are limited to those costs that are necessary and reasonable to accomplish approved project purposes (objectives).

  1. All costs must be supported by source documentation or other records as necessary to substantiate the funds. Such documents are subject to review by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife staff to determine the eligibility of costs.
  2. Cost incurred prior to the effective start date of the grant agreement or after the close of the grant agreement are not allowed.
  3. Administrative costs in the form of overhead or indirect costs are not allowable cost under the Landowner Incentive Program.
  4. Project costs (or match) derived from any federal source are NOT allowable costs.
  5. Cost prohibited under state or local laws or regulations are not allowable costs.
  6. Costs must be consistent with state/federal policies, regulations, and procedures.

What can the match be made of?

It can be cash, or in-kind contribution, or a combination of both.

What is meant by in-kind contributions? Where do I find in-kind rates?

In-kind contributions include goods or services provided to meet match requirements rather than money. In-kind contributions must meet the same standard as any other allowable cost item (see allowable costs above). In-kind contributions can only be used to meet the Landowner's match requirements. The value of in-kind contributions represents what the State would have paid for similar services on the open market. Examples of in-kind services include: volunteer time donated to a particular project and the use of donated equipment. See the Practice component rates sheet on the website for rates you may include in your budget for in-kind services.

Can you match more than 25%?

Yes, minimum match requires 25%. If you propose to match greater than this amount, the higher your project will rank.

What's the process for receiving reimbursement?

You submit an invoice with supporting documentation (invoices from contractors, in-kind tracking sheet or proof of payment to contractor) to the LIP Coordinator at the Westborough Field Headquarters address. That will be checked with your original budget and the invoice will be signed off on after a site visit, and will be forwarded to the Boston office for payment.

How often can you submit for reimbursement?

You have the option of submitting monthly, quarterly, or at the end of the project… However it is required that those grantees that plan on using in-kind contributions to make up 100% of their matching costs, request reimbursement at the end of the project or after they can provide evidence of their match requirements have been met. We need to make certain that you meet your match requirements.

I'm already doing some of things this grant would pay for can I be reimbursed for these activities?

You cannot be reimbursed for actions or work preformed prior to the start date on the Notice to Proceed from the State or for work performed after the grant period closes.

How does LIP pay for reoccurring activities like mowing?

We can only pay for one year of work at a time. The landowner has the option to reapply for the next year of funding. Future funding is not guaranteed.

If I hire a contractor to do the work will I be reimbursed for his time?

Yes, if the work was done during the grant agreement period, the contractor will be paid what we agree to in the proposed budget.

What are the rates you pay for these practices?

The rates published on the LIP webpage (Practice Component Rates) are to give people an idea for what they should expect from contractors and to use those rates to measure their in-kind services on their project.

What if my contractor charges me a rate different than the one you have posted?

The rates of pay will be whatever the contractor receives for salary in his normal line of work minus, overhead and fringe benefits.

What if the total cost of the project is more than I had in my budget and more than we agreed to in the contract?

You will not receive anymore money that what you had budgeted. We will reimburse you for what was agreed upon in the contract.

A Condo Assoc. has a management company to mow etc. They have an employee on site can his time be used as match?

Yes, his hours can be considered as a match at the rate of which the employee's regular rate of pay excluding fringe benefits and overhead or $20/hr. You can use employees of outside organizations salary as match. However, the employee's time must be necessary and reasonable to accomplish the project objectives. Also, no component of the employee's salary can be from a federal source. You can not use federal funds to match a federal grant.

WHIP is very similar to LIP, but has a cap of $2,000 per acre. Does LIP have the same parameters and how is it different from WHIP?

At this point there is no cap per acre. Many program serve private landowners, but LIP is unique in its focus on endangered, threatened and "at-risk" wildlife. No other program has the funding- backed by the biological expertise of the MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to deliver results on private lands.

Can you be reimbursed for your own employees?

Yes, salaries are an eligible cost given that the cost is incurred within the grant period and the salary is necessary and reasonable to accomplish the grant objectives. Overhead costs will not be reimbursed.

What about volunteer time being used as match? I see that in-kind services are worth $20.00/hour. What if someone who is working on the project doing technical work donates his time?

Volunteer labor time can be used as match. Volunteer labor hours should be quantified at $20/hour. Volunteer hours must be verifiable and applicable to the grant. Keep a journal and log all volunteer hours. The log should be submitted along with the In-kind Tracking Sheet signed by the volunteer, landowner and the LIP Coordinator. When a professional donates their services, the in-kind rate will be that of the employee's salary. The way it works is that anyone doing regular work that they would normally do for their job can be reimbursed their regular wage minus overhead and fringe benefits.

Can Land Trusts apply and can they use overhead charges as in-kind?

Yes Land Trusts may apply for a LIP grant. But they may not use overhead as in-kind.

Will the town give me a tax break if I commit to hold my land in this land use for ten to fifteen years?

No.

As an applicant how do I report the money I get from you on my income taxes?

DFW is not qualified to give tax advice. We suggest you consult your tax preparer about receiving the grant.

Are pre-grant costs reimbursable?

Will I be reimbursed for work that I do in anticipation of receiving a LIP Grant? Specifically, what if you hire a forester to write the management plan as part of your grant application? No, pre-agreement costs will be covered under the grant.

When is the earliest an applicant could see any money being reimbursed to them?

You can submit an invoice for reimbursement once work has been accomplished and after the effective date stated on your Notice to Proceed. You can expect to receive the money within 30 days of verification that the work has been done and the request is sent to the Boston office by the LIP Coordinator.

Could the donation of a conservation easement be used as in-kind match?

Yes, and has the potential to generate a larger than 25% match. However, it must be a permanent easement or it will not be accepted as in-kind. It has to go through a separate process that is atypical to the program. Land that already has a Conservation Easement on it will rank higher in the review process but will not be able to be used as in-kind. The donation of a new Conservation Easement is an approach MassWildlife would be willing to work with the landowner to accomplish.

What if someone who is working on the project doing technical work charges more than $20/hr?

If someone is charging you for a service that is an allowable cost it is considered a direct cost and the $20/hr rates would not apply. You would be reimbursed for the actual cost incurred at the rate defined in the contract (ex. 75%). The practice rates provided on the LIP website are used to value in-kind contributions and as a tool to help landowners gage estimated cost. Direct costs must be built into the budget and agreed upon in the contract before work commences.

Are overhead costs eligible under LIP?

No.

Can non-profits use overhead as in-kind?

No. The MassWildlife LIP program will not allow overhead as in-kind.

Can monitoring be used as match?

Yes, if within grant period and reasonable and applicable to grant. Monitoring should be a minor cost of the grant budget.

What if a federal agency is providing services towards the project - can that be used a match?

No.

What about using equipment for match? What about depreciation?

No. The use of equipment itself cannot be used as match. The rate of the practice is reimbursable or can be used as in-kind.