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Guide MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program (MHMGP)

The MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program provides assistance to private and municipal owners of protected lands to enhance wildlife habitat, while promoting public access for outdoor recreation.

Table of Contents

MHMGP overview and objectives

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) is responsible for the conservation—including restoration, protection, and management—of fish, wildlife, and their habitats in Massachusetts. Although MassWildlife and other conservation organizations have made unprecedented investments in land acquisition in Massachusetts, land protection alone is not enough to guarantee the persistence of the Commonwealth’s diverse wildlife. Investment in habitat restoration and management is urgently needed on public and private lands across the state. To address this need, MassWildlife and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs have substantially increased their investment in habitat management on state wildlife lands and are committed to working with partners to promote these efforts on other conserved lands across the state. The MHMGP program encourages landowners to engage in active habitat management on their properties to benefit wildlife. 

MHMGP objectives

  1. Improve habitat(s) for game species (those species that can be legally hunted, fished, and trapped in MA).
  2. Manage habitat(s) for Species of Greatest Conservation Need as identified in the Massachusetts State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) – special emphasis on State-Endangered and State-Threatened Species.
  3. Promote public recreational opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping, and other wildlife associated recreation on conserved lands.

Eligible entities

Owners of private or municipal conserved lands in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Conserved land is defined as property protected by a Conservation Restriction or Easement, an Agricultural Protection Restriction, land enrolled in Chapter 61,61A/B, land subject to a current Landowner Incentive Program covenant, land owned in fee by a non-profit organization whose primary mission is the conservation of land, municipal land under the care and control of the town conservation commission and town forests; or an entity under equivalent protection as determined by MassWildlife staff. 

Award and timeline information

Applications must be received by October 16, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Award amounts: Applicants are eligible to receive between $10,000 and $50,000 per grant towards their approved habitat management project.

Posting date: MassWildlife posted the FY 2021 MHMGP grant application and RFP on September 4, 2020.

Application deadline: Applications must be received by October 16, 2020 by close of business (4:00 pm).

Project deadline: All work must be completed and all awarded funds expended by June 30, 2021. There are no extensions possible under this program.


Pre-application priority habitat review and unplanned expenses

MassWildlife will under no circumstances award more than the requested dollar value on the proposal, or reimburse for more than the agreed upon final budget. If additional expenses arise due to project delays, unforeseen conditions, or requirements placed on the proposal by the local Conservation Commission, Massachusetts Historical Commission, or the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP), the grantee is responsible for covering these additional expenses. To evaluate if and how your proposed project may be impacted by conditions to protect state-listed species and factor this into estimating costs for your project, you must first determine if your project area is within Priority Habitat. If your project area is within Priority Habitat, please contact NHESP by emailing Emily Holt for a pre-filing consultation as early as possible in your project development process, and no later than 21 days before the application deadline.

What types of habitat projects does this grant program support?

Examples of Habitat Types supported by the MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program






Warm season (e.g., native little bluestem)

Cool Season (e.g., native meadow)

Scrub oak barrens

Blueberry barrens

Abandoned orchard

Abandoned field (e.g., viburnum, dogwood, serviceberry, etc.)

Young forest (including regeneration of aspen, mixed hardwoods, and/or mixed hardwood/softwood forest)

Mast  & Cover tree release



Calcareous Fen

Coastal Plain Pondshore Community

Wet Meadow

Shallow Marsh

Acidic Graminoid Fen

Shrub swamp

Acidic Shrub Fen

Atlantic white cedar swamps

Floodplain Forest

Spruce - Tamarack Bog

Other NHESP wetland forest Priority Natural Communities.

Examples of Habitat Restoration & Management Practices supported by the MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program (with applicable permitting)

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Prescribed Burning

Invasive Control



Tree Clearing & Stumping


Prescribed Burning

Invasive Control

Tree Clearing & Stumping

Clearing of un-merchantable trees

Invasive Control

Prescribed Burning

Establishment of downed coarse woody debris

Establishment of tip-up trees



Prescribed Burning

Invasive Control


Prescribed Burning

Invasive Control

Establishment of downed coarse woody debris

Invasive Control


Allowable and ineligible costs and activities

Allowable activities/costs (partial list, see RFP for full list):

Direct costs for on the ground habitat improvements specifically designed to benefit wildlife will be eligible for reimbursement.  All project costs must be approved in the agreed upon contract budget to be eligible for reimbursement.

  • Examples (not limited to) of eligible enhancements and/or practices: Mowing, brush hogging, heavy chipping, clearing of trees, contract grazing, control of invasive plants in the project area (mechanical and chemical), fencing for habitat protection, prescribed burning, woodland improvements (thinning, cutting or girdling of trees), tree planting of species beneficial to wildlife, nest site creation or installation of nesting structures, seeding/planting of native species, natural community enhancement, core habitat or critical natural landscape enhancements
  • Staff time for on-the-ground project implementation (base salary only, no fringe or indirect expenses). Documentation of the base salary rate will be required.
  • Contract costs for management services.
  • Materials and Supplies necessary to achieve project goals.
  • Signs for the purpose of communicating the benefit of the MHMGP funded habitat improvement project may be an eligible expense. (ex. a sign posted during active management to inform the public of the benefits of the activity)
  • Signs that indicate that the property is open to hunting, fishing, and trapping.
  • Equipment Rentals: Equipment rentals may be considered eligible if the rental activity ties directly to the implementation of MHMGP funded project. For example, rental of a brush hog to help maintain old field habitat.  Rental costs approved by MassWildlife may ONLY be used for the implementation of the MHMGP project and not for any other activity.  Grantees may be reimbursed for the use of their own equipment to perform the agreed upon work. Reimbursement rates will be based on staff time for equipment operation plus the standard rental fee of such equipment (quotes required) OR may be based on approved NRCS rates (links to these rates to be found below).
  • Costs related to the cleaning of equipment after project completion to prevent the spread of invasive plants

Ineligible activities/costs:

  • Activities such as land acquisition, trails, signage (except as noted above), and public access improvements.
  • Boundary marking and surveying.
  • Funding may not be utilized towards satisfying any federal, state, or local permitting or legal requirements associated with a regulatory process.
  • Travel to conferences or meetings or other travel expenditures of the grantee (contracted vendor travel expenditures incorporated into the bid or quote are allowable).
  • Rental of a vehicle to commute to and from the site will not be approved and is not an allowable cost.
  • Per diem/meals/drinks/clothing or other personal items whether for the grantee, contractor, or for volunteer appreciation.
  • Permitting costs, planning activities (cutting plans, prescribed burning plans, engineering plans, forest cutting plans, etc.), project administration, indirect, fringe or other overhead costs (ex. office/rental space, Utilities, IT costs, and more).
  • Costs incurred prior to the effective date of the grant agreement or after the close of the grant agreement period.
  • Research, inventory, survey, soil/water testing, or biological monitoring activities.
  • Informational or Educational materials, supplies, or services (except as noted above).
  • Information and Technology Materials, Equipment, or Services.
  • Supplemental Feeding Activities/Costs (ex. Food Plots, Bird Feeders).
  • Any expense not pre-approved in writing by MassWildlife.

Submitting your proposal

Applications must be received no later than October 16, 2020.

All grant materials, including the RFP, attachments, and forms must be accessed through COMMBUYS**.

To access grant materials:

  1. Go to
  2. At the bottom of the main page click on Contract and Bid Search
  3. On the next screen, select Bids
  4.  In the Bid Description box, type Habitat Management Grant, then click find it.

When completed, send one hard copy of the final application package to:

MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program
Attn: James Burnham
MassWildlife Field Headquarters
1 Rabbit Hill Road
Westborough, MA 01581

Applicants must also include a CD or USB flash drive containing a complete electronic copy of the proposal. Responses received after October 16, 2020 at 4:00 pm will not be considered. Facsimiles and/or electronic submissions through email will not be accepted.

**COMMBUYS is the official procurement system for the Massachusetts. Grant seekers are not required to register with COMMBUYS in order to access grant material. If you are not registered with COMMBUYS, it is your responsibility to check the COMMBUYS website for updates to grant documents. Only registered COMMBUYS users will be automatically notified of updates to the grant.

Use these documents to complete your proposal

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