Massachusetts Landowner Incentive Program


Landowner Incentive Program (LIP)

Private Property Owners,
Click here for Application Information

LIP Summer 2006 Newsletter

LIP Summer 2005 Newsletter





Individual landowners, land trusts, sportsmen’s clubs, and other conservation organizations are eligible to apply for available wildlife habitat management funding through MassWildlife’s Landowner Incentive Program (LIP). The application period opens on Monday, October 30 and will be posted on the State’s Comm-Pass website ( The deadline for receiving applications for LIP is 5 pm Friday, December 22nd.


Projects which focus on maintaining grasslands and creating areas of young tree and shrub growth (early woodlands) to enhance wildlife habitat will receive priority. Some of the important ranking criteria for applications to LIP include; type of habitat, number of at-risk species affected; proximity to BioMap Core Habitat; and percentage of “match” the landowner is willing to commit to the project. Private landowners such as land trusts, non-profit groups and individuals are eligible to apply for this funding. Federal, State and municipal lands are not eligible for this funding, but can be directed to other resources within MassWildlife.


Beginning in 2004, MassWildlife’s initiated the Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) to engage private landowners in active wildlife habitat management with funding from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. LIP is a cost sharing (up to 75%) partnership that provides financial and technical assistance to private landowners interested in developing and maintaining wildlife habitat on their property. To date, 68 projects from conservation organizations, sportsmen’s clubs and individual landowners across the state have received LIP funding.


Privately owned lands provide important fish and wildlife habitat in Massachusetts. Over 80% of the landbase in the Commonwealth is privately owned. Most rare species in Massachusetts are found on privately owned lands. Restoring and maintaining habitat on these lands is essential because so many species depend upon them for survival. Species conservation goals cannot be fully achieved by focusing effort solely on public lands.

In the Commonwealth, many plants, animals and habitat types are in serious decline. Since much of the land in our state is privately owned it is important to protect our natural resources through partnerships with willing landowners.

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Natural Heritage Program (NHP) and Ecological Restoration Program (ERP) work to protect priority habitats of rare wildlife such as the New England cottontail, Plymouth Red-belly cooter, Bog turtle, Blue-spotted salamander, Grassland birds and other animals that have seen a decline in their habitat over the years.
To address the conservation of fish and wildlife on private lands, congress allocated funds for a nation-wide Landowner Incentive Program (LIP). These funds were placed under the command of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support State fish and wildlife agencies.

To promote the creation/restoration of high quality wildlife habitat that supports wildlife populations in Massachusetts, funding has been awarded to the state for on-the-ground activities that (1) enhance wildlife habitat and provide benefits for species-at-risk or (2) that meet goals outlined by LIP.

The MassWildlife Landowner Incentive Program is a partnership that provides private landowners interested in developing and maintaining wildlife habitat on their property with financial and technical assistance. State biologists are currently working with private landowners to enhance and protect important habitats across the Commonwealth.

The MassWildlife Landowner Incentive Programs goals are:

  1. Identify and reclaim appropriate sites for management of declining habitats (especially open land: old field and early-successional forest, wetlands, coastal habitat and pine barrens).
  2. Manage and control exotic and invasive plants.
  3. Enhance wildlife habitat for species-at-risk. A species-at-risk is defined for LIP as any fish or wildlife species that is federally or state listed as threatened or endangered, is a candidate for listing as threatened or endangered, or is listed on the NHESP Official State Rare Species List.
  4. Provide technical and financial assistance and guidance to landowners on how to manage their property for wildlife.

What Makes a Good LIP Project?


  1. You must be a private landowner (Required).
  2. There will be a preference for lands which occur in or close to BioMap Core and Supporting Natural landscapes or the projects are in priority habitat identified by the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program.
  3. State or federally listed plants or animals occur on or in the near vicinity of your proposed LIP project.
  4. Your proposed project will enhance or restore habitat for state or federally listed plants or animals.
  5. A stewardship or management plan exists for the proposed project area. LIP or other conservation organizations can assist eligible landowners with recommendations on a limited basis.
  6. If your project area is not permanently protected, you are willing to sign a landowner agreement and agree to keep the LIP-funded habitat enhancement or restoration project as wildlife habitat for length of time based on the amount of funding. This requires that ONLY the area of your property that is managed be kept as wildlife habitat for species-at-risk.
  7. If you intend to apply for over $50,000, the land MUST be permanently protected.
  8. MassWildlife promotes cost-share projects that resourcefully and creatively seek to manage wildlife habitat that conserves natural communities and species-at-risk. You must be willing to commit a portion of total project costs in dollars or effort.


Landowners eligible to receive funding include land that is not owned by the State of Massachusetts or the Federal Government. Private landowners, individually or as a group, can submit project proposals for their property. Additionally, individuals or groups (e.g. land conservancies or trusts, watershed councils, community organizations, or conservation organizations) working with private landowners or on trust lands are also eligible.


Projects should focus on:

  • Habitat Improvement (natural vegetation restoration, habitat protection, invasive control, etc.)
  • Habitat Management (old-field restoration, prescribed burns, modified haying, etc.)
  • Habitat Monitoring and Maintenance (wildlife monitoring, habitat maintenance)

We will be focusing our attention for this round of grants on early successional habitat such as grasslands and scrub/shrub land, shorebird breeding areas, NHESP priority natural communities and areas with At-Risk-Species. To determine the qualification of your property please visit the NHESP Interactive BioMap. Special attention will be given to land adjacent to Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) or other protected areas.


To assist in determining if your land is appropriate for LIP funding, please review the following questions.

  • Are you the Property owner? If “NO”, Organizations working with private landowners can apply on behalf of the landowner(s).
  • Does the proposed project site have a management plan? If “yes”, what type of plan (forest stewardship, farm viability, etc.)?
  • What is the protection status of the LIP project area? Does it have a Conservation Easement on it or is it in Chapter 61?
  • Are plants and/or animals listed as endangered, threatened or species-at-risk (see LIP webpage for lists) present or adjacent to the proposed project site? Talk with your town Conservation Commission, area Land Trusts or MassWildlife if you need help determining what may be on or in the area of your property.
  • How many of these species would benefit from activities planned in your management plan?
  • What is the current use and predominant cover of the potential project area (forested-timber harvest or cropped-hay harvest, etc.)?
  • Is the Proposed Project area adjacent to public or privately protected land or similar habitat? (Ex. Wildlife Management Areas, Land trust land, Mass Audubon land, etc.)
  • How many acres is the proposed LIP project area (does not have to be your entire property)?


Applications will be reviewed by the LIP Technical Committee staff for the overall benefit to rare species and their habitats. Those that meet the criteria developed specifically for LIP will be ranked based on the project’s potential benefit to target species or habitat. Criteria can be found by clicking the link above.

Funding decisions will be made based on the ranking score of the proposal and final review and recommendations of the LIP Advisory Committee.



HOW TO APPLY - Applications for the second round of grants will be accepted from October 30th to December 22nd. The websites from Comm-Pass will not be operational until October 31.

Annual application periods will be announced and publicized here on this website and on Comm-Pass. To locate the Landowner Incentive Program RFR, please use the Comm-Pass Solicitation Search feature with Document Number FWELP-2007-1. (Note: You can enter this number into either the Keyword or Document Number field before clicking the Search button. Then click on the link that appears under Solicitation Search Result to view the LIP RFR.)

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 following forms from the Comm-Pass website are required: 1) Taxpayer Identification Form (W)9, 2) Northern Ireland Notice, 3) Standard Contract Form, 4) Vendor Authorized Signature Verification Form, 5) Consultant Vendor Mandatory Submissions Form and 6) Terms and Conditions Form. 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. LIP Application Checklist


2007 Application Materials

LIP Documents


  • Want to know if there are State-Listed Species on your property?
    If we have a record of a State-Listed Species on your property you are able to request that information. If you are requesting information for habitat management or conservation purposes (i.e. A LIP grant for Species-at-risk Habitat Management) and you are a non-profit conservation group, government agency or working with a government agency (MassWildlife LIP) fill out a Data Release Form. Requests may be mailed to our Westborough address, with appropriate supporting documentation. Requests may also be faxed to 508-792-7821. Questions may be directed to the NHESP Environmental Review Assistant at (508) 792-7270 x154.

  • Find a State-Listed Species on your Property?
    You can Report Rare Species via the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species website.
  • Forest Regeneration Handbook
    A guide for forest owners, harvesting practitioners and public officials.

    Editors, Jeffery S. Ward, Thomas Worthley.
    This is a great guide for landowners interested in LIP with forested lands on their property. This resource will walk you through how our forests were developed and give you an understanding of forest regeneration concepts, including the importance of disturbance. This information will help landowners make informed decisions about forest regeneration options tailored to their forest health and wildlife management objectives.

    This handbook is divided into five sections:

    • The first section provides a short history of the forest from the period of European colonization and large scale land clearing through the present suburban forest.
    • The second section explains basic concepts in forest regeneration. The importance of different combinations of light, moisture, and soil in determining success or failure of regeneration is discussed. It then details the adaptations of different tree species to distinct combinations of light, moisture, and soil conditions.
    • The third section examines the role of disturbance in maintaining habitat and species diversity. The influence distinct disturbance regimes have on forest composition is also explored.
    • The fourth section introduces different methods (prescriptions) of forest management. The influence of each management style on the availability of light, moisture, and growing space for new regeneration is discussed. Because the primary reason for harvesting is often either income or a non-commodity amenity such as wildlife, the economic and esthetic considerations of each management method are also presented.
    • The handbook concludes with a section detailing requirements to successfully regenerate specific species. As with the other sections, this section is not intended to be an authoritative reference, but rather to provide readers with sufficient information to make informed decisions about forest management options.
  • New Wildlife Habitat Guide For Landowners
    An easy-to-use guide for private landowners in New England for enhancing wildlife habitat quality, timber values, and the appearance of forest lands will be available in May. The Landowner’s Guide to Wildlife Habitat: Forest Management for the New England Region is published by the University of Vermont Press/University Press of New England. The Landowner’s Guide is a concise introduction to practical forest wildlife habitat management for private landowners. In non-technical terms, experts from the U.S. Forest Service provide useful information about plans that can improve forests, enhance production of forest products, increase the diversity of wildlife, and increase enjoyment of forest lands through sound forest management. The authors show how to determine what habitats will be used by various wildlife species, how to consider land capability and the mixture of habitat features necessary to attract desired species groups, and how to get started changing existing vegetative conditions through thoughtful management. Exceptional full-color illustrations, charts, and tables enhance the clear presentation of the text, geared specifically for landowners interested in getting started on improving habitat conditions on their land. Two of the authors are from Massachusetts: Richard DeGraaf, Leader of the U.S. Forest Service Wildlife Habitat Research Unit at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Anna Lester, a Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Forest Service Research Unit at Amherst. Guides are $16.95 and can be ordered by calling 1-800-421-1561, or you can order online.

  • Invasive Species Website
    The USDA Forest Service – Northeast Area website contains a variety of resources about non-native invasive species. Featured sections include “Analysis of top invasive plant species for 20 Northeastern states based on 2005 Questionnaire data”, a “Weed of the Week” fact sheet project, a Playbook that provides information and key contacts for invasive and exotic species programs in 20 Northeastern Area states, and the Eastern Native Resource Directory that helps users locate native plant materials.
  • New England Cottontails
    Here in Massachusetts, there are two species of cottontail rabbits, the New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis) and the Eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus). New England cottontails were historically present in all 14 counties of Massachusetts. Prior to 1930, New England cottontails were the only cottontail species appearing among 59 reports, except for 7 from Nantucket where Eastern cottontails were introduced as early as the 1880s. Between 1924 and 1941, however, at least 16,200 Eastern cottontails were imported from the midwest and released statewide. Learn more about New England Cottontail habitat, learn why it is a Species-at-risk, and see a map of its distribution.
  • MassWoods can help you with management of your woodlot and aid in LIP planning
    Typically, most landowners go about their day-to-day routines and passively enjoy their woods. Like other things in life, it is often not until a trigger forces a decision about the sale of timber or land that you need to make an informed decision. was developed to help landowners at these critical decision making times. Their goal is to provide accurate information to woodland owners when they need to make two critical decisions about the future of their land: 1) the potential sale of timber and 2) planning for the future of the property. features an interactive map to direct landowners to local resources to help them with their decisions. Service foresters, local land trusts, statewide land trusts and conservation organizations are all listed for each town across the state. These resources can be a great help to landowners when thinking about applying for a LIP grant.

  • American Woodcock populations have declined 2 to 4 percent per year since the early 1970’s. Research has documented that the loss of young forest and shrubland habitats is the primary cause of their decline. Habitats used by woodcock in Massachusetts also support other high priority species in need of conservation action. State wildlife Action Plans list 59 species of “Greatest Conservation Need” that require young forest and shrubland habitats. This management information will help landowners make informed decisions about woodcock habitat management.
  • After many years, the pub "Managing Grasslands, Shrublands, and Young Forests for Wildlife: A Guide for the Northeast" is finally available online. Written primarily by state and federal wildlife biologists and foresters, this guide will provide you with important information on how to maintain and restore these habitats on the lands you own or manage. The guide was published by the Northeast Upland Habitat Technical Committee with assistance from MassWildlife. Currently, the guide is only available online and not in hardcopy form. It may be available in the future in hardcopy depending on cost and available funding. If it is made available in hardcopy form, I will let you know.


Other References


Email, fax or call the LIP Coordinator at the MassWildlife, Westboro field office. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Massachusetts Landowner Incentive Program

Contact Massachusetts Landowner Incentive Program

Ken MacKenzie, Wildlife Biologist-LIP
One Rabbit Hill Road
Westboro, Massachusetts  01581
Phone: (508) 792-7270 x.113
Fax: (508) 792-7275


Service Area

Statewide Program in:
  • Massachusetts