Massachusetts is a leader—the first state in the country to develop wetlands protection laws, and a literal trailblazer in preserving open space. Economic leadership has resulted in tremendous industrial, commercial, agricultural, and residential growth, but with the unintended cost of widespread habitat loss and degradation. In response, Massachusetts has also become a national leader in aquatic habitat restoration—working to support the recovery of salt marshes, eelgrass beds, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, freshwater wetlands, and other aquatic habitats that have been degraded, damaged, or destroyed. But while significant success has been achieved, tremendous opportunities remain.

To seize these opportunities, in May 2007, the Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary formed the Aquatic Habitat Restoration Task Force, with broad and balanced membership and equal representation from government and non-government entities. The Task Force held six meetings from August to November 2007. Through discussions and deliberations at the meetings and additional conversations and correspondence, the group achieved consensus on a course to ensure the Commonwealth's position as a national leader for aquatic habitat restoration in the decades ahead.

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