What do we need to provide to MassWildlife for a complete application?

The applicant must supply MassWildlife with 5 copies of each of the following: 1) LIP cover page, 2) LIP Management Plan, 3) Budget Form (with quotes from contractors) and 4) Required Map(s). Additionally, 1 copy of the forms from the Comm-Pass LIP solicitation "Forms & Terms" are required. Any application that does not contain all of these documents will not be considered. Any additional information that relates to the LIP Ranking Criteria should also be provided. Completed applications are due prior to the announced deadline posted in the RFR.

Can you go over the schedule of deadlines (when work can commence, when work will be completed)?

Applications will be accepted until March 5th 2012. Selections will be made by June 1st 2012. Work will be set to begin after July 1st 2012. Applicants will have until June 30th of 2013 to finish the project within the grant agreement. All requests for reimbursement must be received no later than July 15th 2013.

Comm-Pass is hard to work through for first timers can you tell me the forms I need to look for?

To get to the LIP information on Comm-Pass, go to the website: http://www.comm-pass.com/
Click the "Solicitations" tab - the second tab from the top left. Click "Search for a Solicitation." Type in "Landowner" in the keyword blank and click "search." Click on the solicitation and then click "view" (the glasses). From there read the LIP RFR (under the Specifications tab) and go to the Forms & Terms tab to view and download the required financial forms.

Can the grant be used for monitoring?

Monitoring can be a reimbursable activity if it is necessary and reasonable to accomplish the project objectives. LIP is an implementation grant so monitoring should be a small component of the total grant request.

LIP requires that we be able to measure the success of our projects - are research and monitoring costs covered by the reimbursement?

Research is not covered by this grant. Monitoring can be covered when it is an evaluation tool, if within grant period and applicable to grant. Example: Monitoring done within the grant agreement period, but prior to the actual management practice being implemented will be covered after the landowner receives the Notice to Proceed.

Survey work such as soil testing, etc. Can these be included in the costs?

This type of work can be covered, if completed within grant period and applicable to grant agreement.

Should the management plan be for the whole property or just the LIP Project Area in the application?

The management plan should be for the specific LIP Project Area that you are applying for. However, you are encouraged to note your overall plan for your whole property.

I would like to apply for more than one project, is that possible? What is the best way to submit a grant that involves several parcels?

Yes, you may apply more than once per landowner. If the lands are owned by different landowners, each landowner has to submit the necessary LIP forms for the land that they own.

Am I better off bundling all the parcels I want to submit as one application or should they each be identified under separate applications?

This depends on the project. If the parcels will make a complete project across more than one parcel of the same ownership, they can be all filed together as one "complete" project. If the land is owned by more than one person or the projects are in different areas of the state, you will need to apply for each one separately. You need to have a separate management plan, budget, map and cover page for each project you apply for. The Commonwealth forms on the Comm-Pass website only need to be filled out once per landowner.

Would a collaborative grant application including several landowners rank higher than another?

Yes, any collaboration that looks at a landscape scale to link habitats together will rank high. State process requires that each landowner be reimbursed and meet their match separately.

Should the application show costs for work that will be required in other years or just for work needed in the grant agreement period?

The Budget needs to show only the costs for the practices that will occur within the current grant period.

I'm making a pasture using USDA money and it only gets me so far. Can I use LIP to clear stumps to finish the pasture?

LIP funding can be used to finish the project only if the primary purpose of the pasture is for wildlife habitat and you meet the match requirements of both federal programs. USDA funding cannot be used to meet LIP match requirements.

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

If your project is approved, you will sign a contract and be obligated to the terms of the contract for the duration of the contract. Each contract will differ between projects. Therefore, we cannot give a specific answer.

Will we be providing a list of potential vendors?

No. That is one of the strong points of this program. You can work with anyone. If your uncle Mike has a brush-hogger you can use that and may actually work to your advantage in terms of match.

A friend mows his fields after the birds have fledged but it's hard to find someone to bale for him at that time of year. Do we have any information that would help him find someone to bale for him?

There are many ways to locate a vendor. Talk with Land trusts and Conservation organization to see who does their work, use the internet to locate contractors or talk with foresters, farmers and town officials.

Do vendors that we contract with have to be approved by the state?

No, the state and federal government require a competitive bid process, which is this RFR grant round. A grantee can contract with any vendor of its choice.

Would hiring a certified Wildlife Biologist be helpful in developing my application?

Yes, wildlife biologists and foresters can help you project.

Will LIP pay for fire as a practice?

Yes subject to the applicant obtaining the necessary permits. Fire will be included in the list of practices that LIP funding may go to. It probably will be used to create fire breaks and other pre-burn manipulations.

What about multi-year projects such as burning on a rotational basis? Are these eligible for funding?

Yes, but LIP would fund what you propose to do for that first year, then you have the option to reapply each year for additional funding. It would be important in your application to describe the long term management plan of what you plan to do year to year even though you are applying for the first year's scope of services.

Does the State have equipment that is available for landowners to use?

No.

Will MassWildlife pay to leave hay standing and cut late in the year?

We will pay for the late mowing of the project area as a practice but not for the economic loss of the hay value and the primary purpose of the field becomes wildlife habitat. Meaning that rotational mowing in non-successive years will apply.

How does invasives control rank in LIP?

Controlling and removing invasives/exotic species as a practice must relate to creation of early successional forest or grasslands or management of wildlife habitat.

Does adding food, vegetation or shelter for wildlife qualify?

Yes. We stress that restoring and creating wildlife habitat provides food and shelter. We will not fund supplemental activities (such as feed, physical structures etc…). LIP is intended for "Species at risk". Therefore, food plots for species such as deer and turkey will not be considered.

If an application is focused on invasives control, what would LIP be paying for?

LIP practices include the application of herbicides, grazing and removal of invasives among other practices. Choice of practice is at the discretion of the applicant given the ecology of the invasive or exotic and the means that need to be taken to eliminate it.

Does MassWildlife want a Forestry management plan to be submitted along with the LIP application?

It is not required. However, any additional information you can provide with your with your application (pictures, aerial photos, etc.) that will help the LIP Technical Review Committee rank your application will help you.

Is there an advantage to having site map with the management plan?

A site map is required for your application. The more detailed the map is the better it will rank in that criteria.

Can we pay for low grade removal of timber after a high grade cut?

We are not subsidizing low grade removal. However, projects looking to restore lands that were high-graded either under previous ownership or in the past (greater than 10 years ago) will be considered.

Who will be inspecting the completed projects?

The LIP Coordinator will be inspecting projects before the work starts, during the work and at the completion of the project. The contract you will sign will allow him on your property to inspect the work.

Could I submit an application that would pay for fencing?

Yes, this grant has been set up for the protection and restoration of habitats that benefit species-at -risk.

You say that you can work with an applicant to "tweak" a proposal. When does this occur, after they have been awarded the grant or during the review process?

After they have been awarded the grant and we visit the site for the first time. Small changes may be made that do not increase the grant award.

Which list of species will we use to determine the species that are associated with the habitat: Landowner Incentive Program list or the Natural Heritage Official State List?

Both. The reason we put both lists we broaden the list of species available for LIP funding and increase opportunities for landowners.

Does the landowner do all the contracting of the services to be done in the management plan?

Yes, the landowner should be getting written and itemized quotes from contractors to do the work. These quotes should be included with the budget.

In the management plan, do we list wildlife we have encountered on the property?

Yes, please include wildlife (especially species that occur on the State lists) documented on the property.

Should I include photos with my application? Which types of photos are more helpful to include in the application, aerial or ground photos?

Both, the more detail you can give about the property the easier it is for the LIP Technical Review Committee to rank your project.

Can controlled sheep grazing be used for invasives?

Yes, sheep can as a practice and can be used to control invasives. And if you own the sheep it can be used as an in-kind match (see practice components sheet for rates).

What maps are best?

GIS maps are the best maps. But any other maps should include as much detail of the project.

What do you mean by feasible?

Feasibility is a must for any project that is to be funded. Can the work realistically be done during the grant agreement period? How does the project fit into the landscape habitat? Are the methods and costs appropriate for the project?