MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program (MHMGP)

The goal of the MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program is to provide assistance to private and municipal owners of protected lands to support active habitat enhancement while promoting public access for hunting, fishing, and wildlife observation.

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) is responsible for the conservation - including restoration, protection and management - of the fish and wildlife resources of Massachusetts for the benefit and enjoyment of the public. Conservation of Massachusetts' fauna and flora is the statutory responsibility of MassWildlife. This responsibility is established and articulated in the Constitution and General Laws of Massachusetts and tasks MassWildlife with the stewardship of all wild amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, freshwater and diadromous fishes, and the habitats on which they depend.

Recognizing that land protection is only the first step in maintaining the diverse habitats of Massachusetts, the MHMGP program encourages landowners to engage in active habitat management on their properties to maximize benefits to the various wildlife species of the state. Although MassWildlife and other conservation organizations across the Commonwealth have made unprecedented investments in land acquisition, we recognize that acquisition alone is not enough to guarantee the persistence of the Commonwealth’s biological diversity. 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 has substantially increased its investment in habitat management activities on state wildlife lands and is committed to working with partners to promote these efforts on other conserved lands across the state.

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

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

    Posting date: TBD.

    Application deadline: Applications must be postmarked by TBD. 

    Project deadline: All work must be completed and all awarded funds expended by June 30, 2020. There are no extensions possible under this program.

    MassWildlife anticipates that the fiscal year 2020 Habitat Grant Program Request for Response (RFR) will be posted sometime in June of 2019. The RFR will include the opening and closing dates for applications. In the meantime, potential applicants may contact the MassWildlife Habitat Program for help with identifying and planning habitat restoration and management practices on their property. Contact: Marianne Piche or Patrick Conlin for assistance. 

         

    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 for a pre-filing consultation by emailing Emily Holt at least 45 days prior to the application deadline.

    What kind of habitat projects does this grant program support?

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

     

    Grassland

    Shrubland

    Forest

    Upland

    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

     

    Wetland

    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)

     

    Grassland

    Shrubland

    Forest

    Upland

    Mowing

    Prescribed Burning

    Invasive Control

    Harrowing

    Seeding

    Tree Clearing & Stumping

    Mowing/Mulching

    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

     

    Wetland

    Prescribed Burning

    Invasive Control

    Mowing/Mulching

    Prescribed Burning

    Invasive Control

    Establishment of downed coarse woody debris

    Invasive Control

     

    Allowable and Ineligible Costs and Activities

    Allowable activities/costs (partial list, see RFR 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 on the MHMGP application website).
    • 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 postmarked by TBD. 

    All application materials are posted on COMMBUYS**. Send one hard copy of the completed application package to:

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

    Learn more about the application process

    Applicants must also include a CD or USB flash drive containing a complete electronic copy of the proposal.  Responses postmarked after TBD will not be considered. Facsimiles and/or electronic submissions through email will not be accepted.

    **Note: If you are not a registered COMMBUYS User but you have obtained this RFP, it is your responsibility to check the COMMBUYS website for updates to this solicitation.  Only registered COMMBUYS  users that obtained this RFP through their COMMBUYS account will be notified of updates to this solicitation.

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