An ongoing sandplain grassland restoration project at Long Point Wildlife Refuge in West Tisbury got a boost this week with the announcement of a $50,000 state grant for the project.
The grant was announced by Gov. Charlie Baker Friday afternoon as part of a $307,000 package of grants that will go toward 10 habitat projects around the commonwealth. It will be administered by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, also known as MassWildlife.
Globally rare sandplain grasslands can be found in the outwash plain on the Vineyard, including at Katama and along the south shore. A variety of restoration programs have been under way for decades to preserve the grasslands, which harbor rare plants, birds and insects.
The latest restoration at Long Point, owned by the Trustees of Reservations, began in 2019 with the help of a $25,000 state grant.
Trustees’ Islands director Sam Hart hailed the grant, which he said the largest allowed under the state wildlife habitat grant program.
“These types of grant opportunities are really a shot in the arm for us,” Mr. Hart said in a phone call with the Gazette Friday.
Maintaining the sandplain grassland — about 52 acres of Long Point’s 630-plus acres — is a priority for the Trustees, he said. The job requires regular mowing to combat invasive plants that have moved in on the historic barrens.
“Every year, we do our best to maintain it, but we don’t always have the funding,” Mr. Hart said.
The grant requires that the $50,000 be spent by June 30, Mr. Hart said. It will be used to pay for mowing and the removal of heavier vegetation and trees, as well as continued monitoring of the area, he said.
Other grants awarded Friday range from $11,306 for sandplain grassland restoration at Coonamessett Farm in Falmouth to $44,007 for a Mass Audubon sandplain and heathland restoration project at Sesachacha Heathlands Wildlife Sanctuary on Nantucket.
The Nantucket Conservation Foundation also received $24,074 to manage sandplain barrens and heathlands on its Middle Moors property.