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Boston — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced the availability of $500,000 in grant funding for wildlife habitat management projects, a $200,000 increase from previous rounds of the Habitat Management Grant Program. Grants will be awarded for municipal and private conservation efforts to improve habitats for native wildlife and increase opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation.
“As part of our administration’s commitment to conserving Massachusetts’ natural resources, we are proud to increase funding for this important habitat improvement program across the state,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These grants help protect important species and enhance recreational opportunities for people who enjoy hunting, bird watching, hiking and other outdoor recreation.”
“In addition to our continued investment in the stewardship of state lands, it’s vital that we work with municipalities, conservation organizations and private landowners to conserve, improve and create critically important wildlife habitats across the entire Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Conservation funding offers needed resources to landowners who are proactively working to improve their land to benefit Massachusetts’ native wildlife and plant species.”
Managed by the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), the Habitat Management Grant Program provides financial assistance to private and municipal landowners of conserved lands to improve and manage habitat for wildlife deemed in greatest conservation need and for game species. The projects will complement ongoing habitat management efforts on state lands and expand opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping, and other outdoor recreation. The deadline for application submissions is November 8, 2017.
“Investments in ecological restoration and management of protected lands to ensure biological diversity continues the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to land acquisition and conservation,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The Administration has prioritized habitat management activities on state properties and is proud to offer resources to our municipal and private partners to promote these efforts on other conserved lands across the state.”
“Though MassWildlife is responsible for the conservation of wildlife and the habitat upon which it depends, the reality is that 80 percent of Massachusetts’ lands where wildlife live are held in private ownership,” said MassWildlife Director Jack Buckley. “It makes sense as an agency to apply science-based habitat management activities with committed private landowners, thereby protecting their investment in wildlife and habitat.”
Earlier this year, MassWildlife awarded $317,243 to 13 different municipalities, private citizens, land trusts and statewide conservation groups for work to be conducted in 14 towns. Some of the successful projects from the past year included removal of woody vegetation and invasive plant species control to improve old field habitats by the Town of Amherst; improving floodplain forests in Dalton and Hinsdale by the Berkshire Natural Resources Council; and improvement of meadow habitat in Ipswich by the Trustees of Reservations.
The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for promoting the conservation and enjoyment of the Commonwealth's natural resources. DFG carries out this mission through land protection and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and wildlife species, and ecological restoration of fresh water, salt water, and terrestrial habitats. DFG promotes enjoyment of the Massachusetts environment through outdoor skills workshops, fishing festivals and other educational programs, and by enhancing access to the Commonwealth's rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.