Announced February 2014:
The LIP application deadline for Fiscal Year 2015 grants is March 7, 2014
Privately-owned lands provide important fish and wildlife habitat in Massachusetts. Over 80% of the land base in the Commonwealth is privately owned. Most rare species in Massachusetts are found on privately owned lands. Restoring and maintaining habitat on these lands is essential because so many species depend upon them for survival. Species conservation goals cannot be fully achieved by focusing effort solely on public lands.
In the Commonwealth, many plants, animals and habitat types are in serious decline. Since much of the land in our state is privately owned it is important to protect our natural resources through partnerships with willing landowners.
The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife's (DFW) Forest Management Program, Upland Habitat Management Program, and Ecological Restoration Program - part of the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) - work to protect priority habitats of rare wildlife such as the New England cottontail, Northern red-belly cooter, Bog turtle, Blue-spotted salamander, Grassland birds and other animals that have experienced a decline in their habitat over the years. To address the conservation of fish and wildlife on private lands, Congress allocated funds for a nation-wide Landowner Incentive Program (LIP). These funds are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support State fish and wildlife agencies.
To promote the creation/restoration of high quality wildlife habitat that supports wildlife populations in Massachusetts, funding has been awarded to the state for on-the-ground activities that
- Enhances wildlife habitat and provides benefits for species-at-risk or
- Meets goals outlined by LIP.
The DFW Landowner Incentive Program is a partnership that provides private landowners interested in developing and maintaining wildlife habitat on their property with financial and technical assistance. State biologists are currently working with private landowners to enhance and protect important habitats across the Commonwealth.
The Landowner Incentive Program's Goals
Enhancing wildlife habitat for species-at-risk. A species-at-risk is defined for LIP as any fish, wildlife, or plant species:
- federally or state-listed as threatened or endangered
- listed in the Massachusetts State Wildlife Action Plan as a Species in Greatest Need of Conservation
- listed on the Landowner Incentive Program List, or
- listed on the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program Plant Watch List
Identifying and reclaiming appropriate sites for management of declining habitats (especially open land: old field and agricultural land, and pine barrens).
Controlling exotic and invasive plants within habitat being created or restored for species-at-risk.