The Ecology Program focuses on the identification, conservation, and stewardship of ecological resources on DCR properties. DCR is the single most important landowner and protector of biodiversity in Massachusetts, managing over 450,000 acres that provide habitats for more than 275 state-listed rare species. Over 1100 state-listed rare species populations are known to occur on DCR lands, including 33 species whose only known habitats in the Commonwealth are on DCR lands. In addition to important rare species habitats, DCR properties have extraordinary ecological features, such as 875 certified vernal pools and 75 different natural community types. The Ecology Program protects the capacity of DCR properties to support native and rare plant and animal species, their habitats, important ecological resources, and the natural processes on which they depend.
DCR owns dozens of coastal properties and beaches on the north shore, south shore, Cape Cod, and the islands of Massachusetts. Our Coastal Ecologist is responsible for planning and overseeing implementation of responsible stewardship and for ensuring environmental compliance of activities on DCR coastal properties. Working with other state and federal partners, DCR strives to improve habitat management and rare species protection and to obtain state and federal environmental permits for beach and land management activities.
A tremendous amount of work is necessary to effectively protect native biodiversity on both coastal and inland state lands. Through prioritization and partnerships, DCR is working to increase conservation of our ecological diversity and to provide responsible stewardship of natural resources by implementing the following:
Ecological Assessments and Monitoring: Working with partners, DCR identifies, assesses, and monitors natural resources on agency properties, including rare species populations and habitats, natural communities, and significant natural features. These activities provide DCR with the ability to evaluate the integrity of the agency’s ecological resources.
Habitat Management: Working with partners, DCR identifies threats and actively manages habitats to maintain the integrity of important habitats and to protect existing elements of biodiversity on DCR lands.
Environmental Compliance: The ecology staff monitors or oversees environmental compliance where construction, restoration, or maintenance activities on DCR properties may affect ecological resources.
Environmental Education: The ecology staff provides training and education for DCR staff and the public to support the protection of biodiversity and ecological stewardship of the Commonwealth’s natural resources.
The Ecology Program encourages the study and scientific research of DCR natural resources with the appropriate and required approvals. Please see Research Permits for details of documentation and notification requirements, in order to avoid conflicts with other park activities and compliance with applicable regulations.