About terminology, "Active management"

What does this mean? Active Management is a management approach in which landowners actively manipulate habitat/ecosystems through activities such as timber harvesting and thinning, mowing, clearing and restoring habitat to improve forest health and to improve habitat for wildlife.

What are examples of potential habitat for LIP?

Grasslands, old fields, early successional forest, woodlots, thickets, etc. Upland projects are encouraged.

Is MassWildlife's focus just on projects that relate to early successional forest and grasslands?

We are focusing on these types of habitat for the first rounds of grants. However, projects in other habitats will be considered.

Is barrier beach habitat eligible?

Yes, these types of habitat protection projects will be equally considered with the upland projects that are proposed.

How about Coastal Plain Ponds as a restoration project covered under LIP?

This habitat will be considered but the primary focus of the project should be more specifically, the surrounding plains.

Is there a difference between applying for money to mow every year vs. intensive treatment such as burning every four years?

The applicant must decide which technique is the best for their property and the management of their habitat.

Can you get money every year for mowing?

LIP is designed to be "seed money" to get the project started, there's no guarantee that funds would be awarded every year to carry on the same project. However, the most expensive part of reclaiming fields is the initial vegetation clearing. Regular maintenance is less costly and in most cases easier to perform.

Why are wetlands such an issue this first round?

Projects that include wetlands restoration or work in the buffer zones in their Upland management plans will need to obtain the necessary permits prior to applying.

Will MassWildlife partially fund some projects because of the amounts requested?

No. Please note there is no funding cap for this round of grants. We want to fund the whole project for that year so make sure what you propose to do is feasible to accomplish within the Grant Agreement Period. (10/4--Prior to this date, there was erroneous information stating there was a maximum amount of funding available.)

Please explain the 75-25 cost-share plan associated with LIP?

The 75-25 cost-share means that MassWildlife, through a grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will reimburse the landowner a maximum of 75% of the cost for the on-the-ground practices that are involved in the management of wildlife habitat. The landowner is required to produce the match. This match can be financial (cash) or can be an in-kind (labor and equipment) contribution. Please see the definition of Match on the Terms and Definitions sheet.

Is the creation of new habitat a higher priority over maintenance of existing habitat?

No distinction has been made which is a priority- between the stages of field or grassland development. Having open land is what is important, not the degree of work required to keep it open.

Grasslands Restoration, do you require native seed?

In every case we will require the use of species native to our region. We realize that this can be more expensive but we really want to restore the habitat with ecotypes endemic to our region. So please make sure you are using species that are endemic to the northeast region of the US (PA-north) and use seed or plugs derived from a source as close to your project as possible.

I want to keep a small piece of my total acreage out of the LIP managed area for a house in the future. Can I do this and still be considered for LIP?

The only requirement is to maintain the "LIP Project Area" in the same land use for the length of the contract. The rest of your property will not be considered as the LIP Project Area.

I don't know what the land I just bought is best suited for in terms of species-at-risk. Where do I get help finding out what's there? How is the average landowner supposed to know what habitat improvements are needed for wildlife?

Landowners can (but are not required to) work with Land Trusts, Conservation Organizations, Town Conservation Commissions and other qualified professionals to put together the management plans. There is limited Technical Consultation available by MassWildlife. However, it is not available while the application process is open.

How does the average private landowner compete with the NGO's in this process? Will there be any consideration to spread the grant money to private landowners who do not do this type of work for a living?

The Request For response (RFR) is designed to be a fair and equitable process. This grant process was set up for the benefit of wildlife on private lands so that everyone from individuals to groups like Land Trusts and Conservation Organizations would be able to receive money to restore and create wildlife habitat. There is help available from your local foresters, Land trusts and Conservation Organizations. In the following years, limited technical advice will be available from MassWildlife while the application period is not open.

A sample management plan would be helpful to applicants.

Please see the website for a sample management plan under application materials.

Will grant winners be listed publicly? Some people may not want to have it known that their land is open to the public and would not want to have their names out in the public.

The Grantee by name, town, practice, and amount received will be included in the Scope of Service (all the agreed to conditions, including access, stated in your contract) and posted on the Comm-Pass website.

Do we expect that there will be continued funding in future years for this program? Is long-term funding guaranteed?

It is not guaranteed, this is a federally funded competitively grant program and funding to the states can fluctuate from year to year. That is why this is intended to be a "seed" grant to get you started. Massachusetts will be applying for the grant in future years as it is available.

In this particular project, we want to use sheep to keep the open field habitat open. Is this an appropriate practice for LIP?

Grazing for maintenance is a great way to keep an area open. Grazing is a great tool for maintaining grassland bird habitat. However, you must be careful not to over-graze and to move your herd around to different areas to allow the grass to grow up into suitable wildlife habitat. And the practice can be used to meet your match requirements.

Do I understand the program correctly that you will pay for 1 years activity but require up to a fifteen year commitment on my part?

Yes, due to the funding being federal, we cannot guarantee that the funding will be there every year. So we must get all the work we can get done in the grant agreement period (1st year). The contract keeps the land in the same landuse for the term of the contract. That protects the State's investment into the private landowner's property.

What is the difference between the length of the contract and the length of time when the money can be spent?

The State can only spend money one year at a time. The Contract length will be longer and reflects the landowner commitment to the wildlife conservation. This means that the LIP Project Area has to be kept in the same land use for that amount of time. The grant agreement period to spend the money is for one year only.

If the landowner is willing to commit a 10 year covenant is the state making a similar commitment?

The State cannot commit financially to more than one year at a time. The commitment the landowner is making is to only keep the LIP Project Area in the same landuse. The landowner is not required to actively manage the LIP Project Area for the length of the contract (only for the year in which the grant money was received). However, the landowner will rank higher in future grant rounds for additional management on that project because of the landowners commitment and the State's investment in your property.

Does mowing have to be done each year?

No, mowing should probably be done every 2-3 years to keep out woody-invasives but allow grassland birds adequate habitat for nesting.

Where can I find the BioMap2 and other maps to locate the Wildlife Management Areas?

There is a link to the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program's .If you do not have access to a computer, you can visit your town offices and library. Maps have been provided to every city and town (Conservation Commission or Planning Board). Contact your town hall for more information.

Will Natural Heritage maps help the application?

Yes, the more detailed map you can provide, the better it will be for the biologists ranking the applications to identify what is happening on your property.

I have a deer yard on the farm. How will this rank? Can I use LIP money for supplemental feeding?

This grant was set up to benefit Species-At-Risk. This type of project would not be considered. Management Plans must be for the benefit of Species-at-Risk. We will not fund supplemental feeding. We won't fund planting corn, but managing grassland and open habitats will rank high.

Who can I hire to help write my management plan?

It is not required to hire a professional. Some Management Plans can be very simple. If you feel that you cannot write a management plan on your own, you can hire or work with Land Trusts, Contract foresters, Conservation Organizations Society of American Foresters, and other Professional Societies. You can also pay for a consulting firm to work with you. However, we cannot reimburse you for any costs incurred prior to the beginning of the grant (i.e. when you get the Notice to Proceed).

Will you fund a wetlands project?

We will consider wetland-type projects. However, this first year we are focus our efforts on upland projects involving early successional projects, grasslands, fields and woodlots.

Has MassWildlife gone to Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions to let them know about this program?

MACC has received information about the program electronically through MassWildlife News and other E-Newsletters.

Where do I go to get a LIP application?

The Application is available for downloading on the LIP website and the Comm-Pass website. There are two sets of forms the LIP forms (on the LIP website) and the Commonwealth Forms (Comm-Pass website). Your application must include all these forms to be considered complete.

What is the LIP website? How can I get an application and all the forms if I don't own a computer?

The LIP website . If you don't own a computer, most town libraries provide computer resources. The reason we are not mailing hard copies is that the RFR may be changed or a form may need to be adjusted and you would have incorrect information.

Is there a list of ranking criteria available?

The Ranking Criteria is available on the LIP Website.

How are points awarded for the ranking criteria?

Points are awarded for each category or number.

Are there limits on the upper and lower sizes or amounts of projects?

No, there is no minimum or maximum limit to the project or grant award you can receive.

Can this money be used to purchase a Conservation restriction?

Not at this time.

My habitat has been severely degraded some years ago. How do I go about assigning what is possible to create or recreate to put a long-term management plan together?

Technical questions such as this are best addressed through consultation with a professional. While the grant application period is closed, limited technical assistance will be available from DFW.

I know my property was never inventoried for BioMap2. If I get one of these grants will the information developed about species be of interest to NHESP?

Yes, the information could be beneficial to NHESP.

What are priority natural communities?

These are important plant and animal communities that don't exist in high numbers in Massachusetts. Go to the website for a comprehensive list: NHESP Priority Natural Communities 2013 pdf format of NHESP Priority Natural Communities 2013
& Priority Natural Communities pdf format of Priority Natural Communities

We raise hare and cottontails for hunting on our club. We always have extras. Could we give them to the state as in-kind for work done on our property for species at risk?

No.

Will future funding include money to develop management plans or focus on on-the-ground implementation activities?

MassWildlife's LIP program is focused on the on-the-ground, active implementation of habitat creation and restoration.

Does MassWildlife encourage partnerships?

Involving other landowners to work together on lands that are nearby or adjacent to their property to create a much larger habitat for wildlife is encouraged and may improve ranking.