Baker-Polito Administration Announces $300,000 in Wildlife Habitat Management Grants

BOSTON – January 13, 2016 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $320,464
in grants for 13 wildlife habitat improvement projects in 12 Massachusetts
communities from the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Fisheries and
Wildlife (DFW).

«These grants will allow municipalities and conservation organizations to improve
wildlife habitats and enhance recreational opportunities for people who enjoy
hunting, bird watching and other outdoor recreation,» said Governor Charlie Baker.
«This grant underscores our commitment to protecting the Commonwealth’s natural
resources.»

«We are proud to offer resources for habitat improvement efforts previously
unavailable to municipalities and private landowners,» said Lieutenant Governor
Karyn Polito. «This will greatly strengthen municipal and private wildlife
conservation efforts throughout the Commonwealth.»

«Land protection and wildlife conservation have been important goals of the
Baker-Polito Administration in its first year,» said Energy and Environmental
Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. «With this new grant program, we are able to
provide needed resources for forward-thinking local projects that will ensure the
Commonwealth’s native species are being conserved.»

The new MassWildlife 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 also expand opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping, and other outdoor
recreation, and complement the ongoing habitat management efforts on state lands.

«Wildlife in special need of conservation and some game species will benefit
directly from these habitat management activities,» said Department of Fish and Game
Commissioner George Peterson. «In addition, the sporting community, birders,
naturalists, and other wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy better recreational
opportunities as a result of this program.»

«Though the Division 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 lives is held in private ownership,» said DFW 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.»

During its first round of grants, DFW awarded funds to ten municipalities and
organizations. The approved projects are listed below.

* Athol-Using $24,610 in grant funds, the Town of Athol Conservation
Commission will conduct forestry activities to create young forest habitats on
Athol’s Bearsden Conservation Area.

* Brookfield and Ware – The East Quabbin Land Trust has been awarded $16,730
to use fire to promote native wildlife in Pitch Pine-Scrub Oak and wet meadow
habitats on Frohloff Farm and Wendemuth Meadow Preserve.

* Dartmouth-The Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust has been awarded $18,096
for field and grassland creation and restoration at Smith Farm Reserve.

* Edgartown – The Nature Conservancy has been awarded $32,908 to conduct
prescribed burns to maintain sandplain grassland habitat on the Katama Plains
Conservation Area.

* Great Barrington- For $20,900, the Berkshire Natural Resources Council
will work to control invasive plants on the Housatonic Flats Reserve.

* Hardwick -The East Quabbin Land Trust has been awarded $16,290 to maintain
and promote shrubland and to treat invasive species of plants.

* Heath- The Franklin Land Trust will be using $19,899 to create grassland
habitat and remove invasive plants on Crowningshield Farm.

* Monson-The Town of Monson has been awarded $27,750 to restore young forest
habitat on its Carpenter Road property.

* Nantucket -For $20,357, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation will reduce
shrub and tree species cover to improve habitat conditions for wildlife dependent on
grasslands and heathlands.

* Sheffield – The Nature Conservancy has been awarded $49,480 to improve fen
and grassland habitats through invasive plant control and removal of woody plants on
the Schenob Brook Preserve.

* Sheffield – The Trustees of Reservations has been awarded $33,000 to
restore grassland habitat on the West Grumpelt Parcel of Bartholemew’s Cobble
Preserve.

* Wilbraham-Using $11,600 in grant funds, the Town of Wilbraham will treat
invasive species and improve meadow and old field habitats at the Thayer Brook
Conservation Area.

* Wilbraham-Using $28,844 in grant funds, the Town of Wilbraham will treat
invasive plants, improve young forest habitat, and install shelter for wildlife on
its Twelve Mile Brook Conservation Area.

«Protecting our natural habitats and preserving native species is a delicate and
immensely important practice,» said State Senator Anne M. Gobi (D-Spencer). «The
East Quabbin Land Trust has a superb history of preservation and I am delighted to
learn that they are receiving these grant funds.»

«The East Quabbin Land Trust continues to be a tremendous asset to our community,»
said State Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren). «Their work promoting the
sustainable use of our natural resources is inspiring and I look forward to seeing
how they use these new funds from MassWildlife.»

«I am pleased to learn that the East Quabbin Land Trust will receive more than
$30,000 to enrich valuable wildlife habitat at properties they manage in Hardwick,
North Brookfield, and Ware,» said State Representative Donald Berthiaume, Jr.
(R-Spencer). «This new grant program is an innovative way to assist municipalities,
conservation organizations, and private landowners in shared efforts to improve
wildlife habitat in the Commonwealth.»

«Grassland management often is an overlooked aspect of open space protection,» said
State Senator Dan Wolf (D-Harwich). «Using fire to maintain grasslands is a tactic
that shows our better understanding of how natural cycles work, so all of us very
much appreciate this grant to continue The Nature Conservancy’s fine work at Katama
Plains on the Vineyard.»

«This is terrific news and this much-needed funding will help to manage these
important rare grasslands in Edgartown,» said State Representative Timothy R. Madden
(D-Nantucket).

«The partnership commitment between MassWildlife and the Town of Athol Conservation
Commission of investing in habitat restoration and management, will benefit
generations to come,» said State Representative Susannah Whipps Lee (R-Athol).