The Department of Conservation and Recreation is steward of one of the largest state parks systems in the country.  Its 450,000 acres is made up of forests, parks, greenways, historic sites and landscapes, seashores, lakes, ponds, reservoirs and watersheds.

Division of MassParks

The Division of MassParks maintains nearly 300,000 acres of the state’s forests, beaches, mountains, ponds, riverbanks, trails, and parks. The Division protects land and resources on privately and municipally held land through technical assistance, grant and planning programs, policy development, and other services.

Division of Water Supply Protection

The Division of Water Supply Protection is comprised of the Office of Watershed Management and the Office of Water Resources.

Office of Watershed Management

The Office of Watershed Management manages and protects the drinking water supply watersheds for approximately 2.5 million residents of Massachusetts, primarily in Greater Boston. 

The Quabbin Reservoir , Ware River , and Wachusett Reservoir watersheds are the sources of drinking water for distribution by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA).

Office of Water Resources

The Office of Water Resources promotes water quality and conservation through several functions.

  • The Office of Water Resources provides technical staff support to the Water Resources Commission, developing water resources policy and watershed planning efforts, coordinating the review of proposed interbasin transfers, administering cooperative programs with the US Geological Survey, and managing the Rainfall Program  (a network of approximately 150 precipitation observation stations, operated by volunteers throughout Massachusetts, and a precipitation database for research and analysis). In addition, staff is undertaking an eight year program developing Water Needs Forecasts pdf format of    Water Needs Forecast Policy and Methodology  in support of MassDEP's Water Management Act permit renewal effort.
  • Staff operate the statewide Lakes & Ponds Program, offering technical assistance to communities and citizen groups, monitoring water quality at various public beaches to ensure public safety, and providing educational materials to the public about various lake issues.
  • The Flood Hazard Management Program is the state coordinating office for the National Flood Insurance Program, providing floodplain management technical information and assistance to community officials and others concerning the NFIP as well as coordinating statewide floodplain management policies to accomplish comprehensive flood loss reduction. This program also jointly administers, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the state's hazard mitigation programs, through planning and project grants and technical assistance to community officials.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) received a $1.04 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Ipswich River Watershed: EPA Targeted Watershed Grant program to demonstrate an integrated approach to addressing the problems facing the Ipswich River. This approach encompassed two strategies:
            • Low-Impact Development (LID) – landscaping and design techniques that capture stormwater and recharge it to the groundwater
            • Water Conservation – education strategies and technologies that reduce demand on water supplies, and associated groundwater pumping, especially during dry months


Division of Engineering

The Engineering Division provides comprehensive and various types of engineering services throughout the Commonwealth in support of the DCR’s many facilities programs and missions.  

The sections included in the Engineering division are responsible for  working with our Planning Bureau on the planning and design phases park and parkways projects and supervising construction and maintenance of capital projects including roads, sidewalks, park facilities, dams, street lighting, water mains, and storm sewers, curb cuts, pedestrian bridges and storm water management.  More

Office of the General Counsel

The Office of General Counsel (OGC) provides legal services and counsel to the entire agency, including the Stewardship Council, on a diverse range of issues and matters to support the mission of DCR.  OGC also works closely with the Office of the Attorney General on litigation matters in which the DCR is either a party or has an interest. 

Given the varied mixture of lands and facilities owned by DCR and the differing purposes for which these many lands and facilities are operated and managed, as well as the diverse conservation, recreation and public works programs and functions at DCR, OGC’s daily work typically includes a wide range of legal issues from almost all specialties in the law, perhaps as wide a range than that typically presented to any legal office in a Massachusetts state agency. More

Bureau of Planning & Resource Protection

The Bureau of Planning & Resource Protection provides professional planning, design and project management services, and natural and cultural resource protection in support of DCR’s state parks and forests, urban parks and reservations, and water supply divisions. More