The Office of Regional Planning within the Bureau of Planning and Resource Protection includes the Resource Management Planning (RMP) Program, the Ecology Program, the ACEC Program, MEPA project review, and project management for important DCR initiatives.
- Resource Management Planning :Office of Regional Planning staff members coordinate with others in DCR, stakeholders and partners to prepare comprehensive Resource Management Plans (RMPs) for DCR properties. The legislation that established DCR (M.G.L. Ch 21, Sect 2F) requires the Department to prepare RMPs for all reservations, parks and forests. These plans provide guidance for the stewardship of natural and cultural resources, and ensure consistency between recreation, resource protection and sustainable forest management. Public input and review is an important component of the RMP process.
- Ecology Program : The Ecology Program focuses on the stewardship of ecological resources within the state park system. The Program provides agency support through project review and technical assistance to ensure protection of ecological resources as well as training for DCR staff. The Program the program staff has expertise in both coastal and inland ecology.
- ACEC Program : Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) are places in Massachusetts that receive special recognition because of the quality and significance of their natural and cultural resources. These areas are identified and nominated at the community level, and are reviewed and designated by the state’s Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs. ACEC designation creates a framework for local and regional stewardship of critical resources and ecosystems.
- MEPA project review : Assessment of projects affecting DCR properties and facilities through the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) review process is coordinated through the Office of Regional Planning. MEPA comment letters identify adverse impacts to DCR interests, and include recommended strategies to mitigate such impacts.
- Project management: Staff of the Office of Regional Planning are also involved with the administration and oversight for design, permitting and construction of complex projects that are of regional importance and scale. Ensuring the protection of important natural resources, and ongoing coordination and communication with partners and stakeholders are key components of this responsibility.