The seven person Fisheries and Wildlife Board was created by the Massachusetts legislature in 1948 and is assigned the responsibility of supervision and control of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. The Board's mandate is to protect and manage the wildlife of the Commonwealth as an essential public natural resource for the use and enjoyment of all citizens who hunt, fish, trap, and enjoy nature study and observation. This includes all mammals, birds, and freshwater fish, plus insects, invertebrates and plants that are listed under state and federal regulations as rare, endangered, threatened, or of special concern - over 400 species in total. All public meetings and hearings are posted on the agency website as well as at agency facilities.

Broad and Professional Representation

Board membership assures broad geographic, and professional representation. State law requires that the Governor appoint one member from each of the five regions of the state. One of these must be experienced in farming. Of the two additional at-large members, one must be a wildlife biologist and the other must have expertise in endangered species conservation.

The Board Assures Professional Responsibility for the Wildlife Resource by:

  1. Establishing personnel policies that require persons appointed to positions in the Division have appropriate professional training. Every member of the technical staff holds a college degree and two thirds have advanced graduate degrees.
  2. Adopting policies and regulations that are based on sound ecological science, and that take into consideration public opinion elicited though a process of monthly open Board meetings and periodic public hearings.
  3. Approving, in conjunction with the Commissioner of Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Law Enforcement, appointment of the members of the scientific Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee .
  4. Fostering research that obtains factual information and data as the science base for regulations and policies.
  5. Reviewing and approving land acquisitions though use of the Land Stamp Fund, Massachusetts Waterfowl Stamp fund, state bond issue funds, and other financial sources.

Partnerships

The Board fosters close working partnerships between the Division and other state and federal agencies, private conservation organizations, sportsmen's organizations, municipal conservation commissions, land trusts and private firms. Partnerships involve all management, regulatory, research, land acquisition, and information and education activities of the Division.

Public Oversight

The Board operates under multiple layers of public oversight - the Governor, the Secretary of Environmental Affairs, and the Commissioner of Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Law Enforcement. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regularly reviews federally funded projects.