Grants Available to Landowners for Habitat Management

Would you like to improve habitat for birds or other wildlife on your property but don’t have the money to get it done?  If so, you can now apply for a Mass Wildlife Habitat Management Grant. 

MassWildlife’s Habitat Management Grant Program (MHMGP) provides financial assistance to private and municipal landowners of conserved lands to enhance wildlife habitat, while promoting public access for outdoor recreation. Over the past 6 years, the MHMGP has awarded over $2.2M in funding to 33 different organizations and individuals for 84 habitat improvement projects.

The MHMGP encourages landowners to engage in active habitat management on their properties to benefit many types of wildlife, including game animals and species of greatest conservation need  identified in the State Wildlife Action Plan.

Although MassWildlife and other conservation organizations have made unprecedented investments in land acquisition in Massachusetts, acquisition alone is not enough to guarantee the persistence of biological diversity. Investment in habitat restoration and management is urgently needed on public and private 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.

Owners of private or municipal conserved lands in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are eligible to receive MHM grants.

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. 

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

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

 GrasslandShrublandForest
UplandWarm 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  
WetlandCalcareous Fen Coastal Plain Pondshore Community Wet Meadow Shallow Marsh Acidic Graminoid FenShrub swamp Acidic Shrub FenAtlantic 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)

 GrasslandShrublandForest
UplandMowing Prescribed Burning Invasive Control Harrowing Seeding Tree Clearing & StumpingMowing/Mulching Prescribed Burning Invasive Control Tree Clearing & StumpingClearing of un-merchantable trees Invasive Control Prescribed Burning Establishment of downed coarse woody debris Establishment of tip-up trees  
WetlandPrescribed Burning Invasive ControlMowing/Mulching Prescribed Burning Invasive ControlEstablishment of downed coarse woody debris Invasive Control

Details on how to apply and examples of successful projects are posted on the Habitat Management Grant Program page. The grant application deadline is August 27, 2021.

If your project site is located within endangered species habitat (check here) a pre-review of the project is highly encouraged. Please e-mail Emily Holt, Senior Endangered Species Review Biologist of MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP), with a site map and description of the project to begin the pre-review process.  Retain copies of the feedback provided as proof of consultation will be needed during the MHMGP application process. Pre-reviews should be submitted to NHESP a minimum of 2 weeks before the MHMGP application closing date.

For general questions about the grant program, contact James Burnham, Program Coordinator.