Where can I get an application?

The Application is available for downloading via this website. Please read the "How to Apply" section. There are two sets of forms - the LIP forms (available from the LIP website) and the Commonwealth Forms (COMMBUYS website). Your application must include all of these forms to be considered complete. If you don't own a computer, most town libraries provide computer resources. The reason we are not mailing hardcopies is that the RFR may be changed or a form may need to be adjusted. Please refer to the web page often as it is constantly being updated with new information and further help for applicants.

What land is eligible for LIP funding?

Any private land is eligible for the LIP Program. Private land is land not owned by federal, state, or municipal agencies (i.e. any land that is publicly held) is eligible. Lands for which the title and control rests with a government agency---Federal, state, regional, county, or municipal is NOT eligible.

How are applicants chosen?

The only eligibility requirement is that the project be on private land. Applicants are chosen by the LIP Technical Committee using a list of Ranking Criteria (posted on the LIP website) to best judge the project's benefit to species-at-risk.

What is a cost-share program?

A cost-share program is a program in which one entity (in this case the landowner or MassWildlife) does not incur the total cost of a project. The LIP Program is a 75-25 cost share program. The 75-25 plan means that MassWildlife will reimburse the landowner up to 75% of the cost for the on-the-ground practices that are involved in the management of the project. The landowner is required to come up with the match.

What is match?

State participation is limited to 75% of eligible costs incurred in the completion of approved work or the state share specified in the grant agreement, which ever is less. The landowner is required to come up with the match. This match can be financial (cash) or can be an in-kind (labor and equipment) contribution. The landowner's share of costs may not be derived from federal funds. The landowner can match more than the 25% and it will rank their application higher.

What are the landowner's obligations to receive funding?

The landowner must submit a completed LIP application including all required forms to MassWildlife for consideration. If the application is accepted, the landowner will sign a contract to keep the LIP Project Area in the same landuse for a period of time (5-10 years based on the amount of funding). The work must be completed in the grant agreement period of one year. The commitment the landowner is making is to only keep the LIP Project Area in the same land use. 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).

What does LIP pay for?

The LIP Program will pay for costs that are essential to obtain the objectives defined in the grant agreement and are needed to achieve the desired result. All costs must be supported by source documentation or other records as necessary to substantiate the funds.

Examples of eligible (but not limited to) enhancements and/or practices:

Mowing, brush hogging, heavy chipping, clearing of trees, contract grazing, control of invasive plants (mechanical and chemical), fencing for habitat protection, prescribed burning, seeding of warm and cold season grasses, soil amendments, woodland improvements (cutting or girdling of low economic/habitat value trees for forest regeneration), tree planting of desirable species, planting of native plants species and natural community restoration benefiting at-risk-species.

What are LIP's objectives?

  1. Enhance wildlife habitat for species-at-risk.
  2. Identify and reclaim appropriate sites for management of declining habitats (especially open land: old field and agricultural land, beach and pine barrens).
  3. Controlling exotic and invasive plants within habitat being created or restored for species-at-risk.

Do I have to allow public access to receive funding?

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 is the minimum size (in acres) of a project?

For the LIP Program, there is no minimum or maximum limit to the project size. However, you must be able to feasibly finish the project in the grant agreement period of 1 year.

What is the maximum amount one can apply for?

For the LIP Program, there is no minimum or maximum limit to the grant award you can receive so long as the project can be feasibly finished within the grant agreement period of 1 year.

Where do I get help for developing plan, techniques, etc…?

It is not required to hire a professional to develop a management plan for your property. 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).

Are lands in Chapter 61 and 61A eligible?

Yes. Make certain you are in compliance with your Chapter 61 or 61A requirements. However, you need to check your Chapter 61 agreement as well as any other restrictions that may be on the property before applying. You may also want to consult a forester regarding management. Remember - always approach your LIP application from a habitat/wildlife perspective.

Are Research and Monitoring projects eligible?

LIP funding cannot be used for research of any kind. Monitoring can be a reimbursable activity if it is necessary and reasonable to accomplish the project objectives and within the grant agreement period. LIP is an implementation grant for active wildlife habitat management so monitoring should be a small component of the total grant request.

What is the outlook for long term funding and what is MassWildlife's commitment to landowners?

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. The State cannot commit financially to more than one year at a time. If the project is not able to be finished in the one year grant agreement period, 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.

If my project is approved, what types of restrictions go with the program?

The applicant is required to comply with all applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations, including obtaining any necessary permits prior to the commencement of work.

What is in the LIP Contract, what are the key components, what will I be signing?

The LIP Contract is a legal agreement between the Commonwealth and the private landowner. The contract will contain multiple parts including but not limited to the grant agreement and covenant. The grant agreement defines the scope of services for a one year period that have been identified and agreed upon in the management plan. The covenant is the legally binding agreement which the landowner signs showing their commitment to keep the parcel in the continued land use. The covenant is filed in the deed with the Registry of Deeds.

Are costs incurred before I am accepted or after the end of my grant agreement period eligible for reimbursement? (surveys, plan development, additional costs, etc…)

No, costs will not be reimbursed or considered as in-kind under the grant if they are incurred before the Notice to Proceed is granted or after the grant agreement period has expired. All practices must be within the grant agreement period.

Can overhead as be included as cost to be reimbursed? What about overhead donated as In-kind?

No. The MassWildlife LIP program will not allow overhead to be reimbursed as a cost or used as in-kind match.