Eighteen municipalities, organizations, and private landowners across the state have been awarded a total of $506,856 in grants for wildlife habitat improvement projects.\u00a0The MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program was developed to establish partnerships between MassWildlife and private and municipal landowners to enhance habitat and increase recreational opportunities on properties across the state. This year, funds provided through the grant program will benefit 20 wildlife habitat improvement projects, totaling 950 acres in 19 Massachusetts communities. The projects will complement the ongoing habitat management efforts currently underway on state owned lands.\u00a0\n\n\u201cThe Habitat Management Grant Program is a great example of the strong partnership between the state, municipalities, private landowners and organizations working together to conserve land and wildlife,\u201d\u00a0said Governor Charlie Baker.\u00a0\u201cThese grants are an important tool to help build upon the thousands of acres of important conservation land for wildlife and residents across the Commonwealth.\u201d\n\n\u201cMassachusetts is home to an incredibly diverse array of protected natural resources and habitats that include saltwater marshes, mountain summits, and old growth forests,\u201d\u00a0said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton.\u00a0\u201cHabitat for common and rare plants and wildlife requires active and ongoing maintenance and management in order to thrive, and these grants will assist in those important efforts.\u201d\n\nThe Habitat Management Grant Program is in its third year, and has now awarded over $1,215,000 in funding to 51 projects. The Program\u2019s mission is to provide financial assistance to municipal and private landowners of conserved properties to improve and manage habitat for wildlife that has been deemed in greatest conservation need and for game species. Projects awarded with funds are also designed to expand outdoor recreational opportunities.\u00a0The funds are provided through MassWildlife\u0027s\u00a0Habitat Management Grant Program. This year, the Baker-Polito Administration increased the funding of the program by $200,000 utilizing environmental bond funds.\n\n\u201cHabitat management is key to benefiting birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians which depend on some less common habitats,\u201d\u00a0said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Ron Amidon.\u00a0\u201cI\u2019m grateful that we have the opportunity to expand our habitat management footprint and improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women, birders, naturalists and other outdoor enthusiasts.\u201d\n\n\u201cAbout 80 percent of Massachusetts\u2019 lands where wildlife is found is owned privately,\u201d\u00a0said Jack Buckley, MassWildlife Director.\u00a0\u201cTherefore, as an environmental agency we should promote and apply science-based habitat management activities with committed municipal and private landowners, thereby protecting their investment in wildlife and habitat.\u201d\n\nThis year\u2019s awardees of the Habitat Management Grant Program:\n\nAwardee: The Town of BarnstableCommunity:\u00a0The Town of BarnstableAmount:\u00a0$10,000Project:\u00a0To conduct prescribed burning in an effort to improve pitch pine/oak woodland habitat.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0The Berkshire Natural Resources CouncilCommunity:\u00a0The Town of Great BarringtonAmount:\u00a0$36,500Project:\u00a0To conduct invasive species control at Housatonic Flats and Thomas and Palmer Preserves.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0The Franklin Land TrustCommunity:\u00a0The Towns of Heath and PlainfieldAmount:\u00a0$16,675Project:\u00a0To enhance native shrub habitat on Crowningshield Farm (Heath) and Guyette Farm (Plainfield).\n\nAwardee:\u00a0The Town of LenoxCommunity:\u00a0The Town of LenoxAmount:\u00a0$36,630Project:\u00a0To conduct hardy kiwi invasive species control within Kennedy Park.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0The City of MarlboroughCommunity:\u00a0The City of MarlboroughAmount:\u00a0$44,500Project:\u00a0To create and improve young forest habitat in the Desert Natural Area.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0The Town of MashpeeCommunity:\u00a0The Town of MashpeeAmount:\u00a0$24,000\u00a0Project:\u00a0To conduct prescribed burning to improve habitat within the Holland Mill Pine Barrens.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0The Nantucket Conservation FoundationCommunity:\u00a0The Island of NantucketAmount:\u00a0$18,997Project:\u00a0To manage heathlands on the Head of The Plains properties.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0The Trustees of ReservationsCommunity:\u00a0The Town of NewburyAmount:\u00a0$30,264Project:\u00a0To expand and improve grasslands at Old Town Hill Reservation.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0Fred HeyesCommunity:\u00a0The Town of Orange\u00a0Amount:\u00a0$38,608Project:\u00a0To create young forest and shrubland habitat along the West Branch Tully River.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0Mass AudubonCommunity:\u00a0The Town of SharonAmount:\u00a0$38,201Project:\u00a0To manage shrubland habitats and create young forest habitat at the Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0Sheffield Land TrustCommunity:\u00a0The Town of SheffieldAmount:\u00a0$15,632Project:\u00a0To work to control invasive species at Ashley Falls Woods.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0The Nature ConservancyCommunity:\u00a0The Town of SheffieldAmount:\u00a0$20,503Project:\u00a0To create and improve old field and shrubland habitats at the Schenob Brook Preserve.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0The Cherry Hill Realty TrustCommunity:\u00a0The Town of Stockbridge\u00a0Amount:\u00a0$15,500Project:\u00a0To remove the invasive hardy kiwi plant.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0The Town of StockbridgeCommunity:\u00a0The Town of StockbridgeAmount:\u00a0$20,905Project:\u00a0To treat invasive species at Gould Meadows and Bullard Woods.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0Mass AudubonCommunity:\u00a0The Town of TollandAmount:\u00a0$24,493Project:\u00a0To create shrubland habitat at the Richardson Brook Wildlife Sanctuary.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0Mass AudubonCommunity:\u00a0The Town of TopsfieldAmount:\u00a0$36,646Project:\u00a0To expand and improve shrubland habitat at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0Brian and Martha KlassanosCommunity:\u00a0The Town of WareAmount:\u00a0$4,859Project:\u00a0To create and improve shrubland and field habitat.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0The Westport Land Conservation TrustCommunity:\u00a0The Town of WestportAmount:\u00a0$12,783Project:\u00a0To improve shrubland habitat and conduct stream restoration work at the Dunham Brook Conservation Area.\n\nAwardee:\u00a0The Town of WilbrahamCommunity:\u00a0The Town of WilbrahamAmount:\u00a0$26,150Project:\u00a0To improve pitch pine habitat at Twelve Mile Brook Conservation Area.\n\nAwardee: The Town of YarmouthCommunity:\u00a0The Town of YarmouthAmount:\u00a0$25,000Project:\u00a0To use prescribed burning to restore pitch pine/oak woodlands.