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State Grants Now Available for Landowners

Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust will be administering the grant application process for the Commonwealth's new Forest Conservation Due Diligence Grant Program.

You can download the grant information at the bottom of this page.  Please read the program description below to see if you are eligible.

The Massachusetts Forest Conservation Due Diligence Grant Program provides financial assistance to qualified forest landowners who permanently protect their land, and who donate land or conservation restriction (CR) value.  This Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (MA DCR) Program covers costs associated with appraisals, title exams, surveys, closing costs, and environmental site assessments.

To be eligible for the Due Diligence Grant Program, landowners must:

1) Own subject land in specific Massachusetts municipalities designated by the New England Governors’ Conference “Keeping Forests as Forests” report.  These areas include the Massachusetts sections of the Taconics Partnership, Massachusetts-Vermont Woodland Partnership, Southern New England Heritage Forest Partnership, and Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership (not more than 2 landowners per year may be eligible from the Quabbin to Cardigan region). 

A map of eligible towns is on the right (click to expand), and a list is at the bottom of the page.

2) Attend a qualified MA DCR Working Forest Initiative event or a qualified US Forest Service New England Governors’ Conference Commission on Land Conservation Pilot Region event. 

3) Conserve at least 10 acres of forested land.  In addition, MA DCR must determine that the land contains significant natural resource value. 

4) Donate all or part of the appraised value of the land or conservation restriction.  The appraised value must be determined by a Qualified Independent Appraiser.  The donation must be worth at least 50% of the conservation project’s appraised value or at least $100,000.  Projects where 50% of appraised value is greater than $100,000 are only required to donate $100,000 of value to qualify.

•  For example, a project with a CR value of $350,000 would qualify if at least $100,000 is donated – which is less than 50% of its appraised value. 

•  In another example, a project with a CR value of $150,000 would qualify if $75,000 of the value is donated, which is 50% of the appraised value. 

5) Be enrolled in the Forest Stewardship Program or Chapter 61 (or Chapter 61A or Chapter 61B if the requirements of Chapter 61 are met).  Landowners pursuing a CR who are not enrolled may apply for a Due Diligence Grant and enroll in the Forest Stewardship Program concurrently.

6) The Due Diligence Grant may not exceed 50% of the donated value of the land or CR. 

•  For example, a land donation of $10,000 is eligible for a grant worth no more than $5,000.

The program reimburses landowners for approved due diligence costs only after the project has been approved by MA DCR for eligibility and the project has been recorded at the Registry of Deeds.  

For more information, contact Jay Rasku at 978-248-2118 or rasku@mountgrace.org

For information about other landowner incentive programs in the MA DCR Working Forest Initiative, go to www.masswoods.net.