Emergency Projects or Activities (321 CMR 10.15)

The MESA includes provisions for emergency projects that present a current threat to the health and safety of the citizens of Massachusetts. Only work to abate the present emergency will be considered pursuant to this provision of the MESA.

For MESA review under 321 CMR 10.15, please send a written request to the NHESP  that includes the following:

  • Specify why the project is necessary for the protection and health of the citizens of Massachusetts;
  • Specify what agency of the Federal Government, the Commonwealth or political subdivision thereof is to perform the project or activity, or has ordered the Project or Activity to be performed;
  • A description (and plans, if available) shall be provided that specifies the work associated with the emergency;
  • Provide proof of land-owner permission to conduct the project or activity;
  • Provide a time-line for the proposed start and duration of work.

If a project qualifies as an Emergency pursuant to the MESA, then NHESP will issue an “Emergency Authorization” with any conditions, restoration activities, or reporting specified. 

In emergencies that require immediate response in order to protect the health or safety of the public and the responding person is unable to contact the Division prior to responding, the Division shall be notified as soon as possible and any additional work shall require approval of the Director. Any Person that initiates an emergency response without prior approval shall file a written report within 30 days with the Director detailing the work that was performed and a description of any restoration that may be necessary to restore the site of the Project or Activity.

Grandfathering of Projects pursuant to 321 CMR 10.13(2)

The NHESP understands that there are project proponents who have taken significant action towards implementing a project in reliance on an earlier edition of the Atlas that showed that the project site was not located in Priority Habitat but have since been mapped. Some such projects may not be subject to MESA review if certain permitting milestones have been met pursuant to 10.13(2).

MESA Penalties (321 CMR 10.06)

A failure to file under MESA or adhere to the conditions of a Conservation and Management Permit shall constitute a violation of MESA and is subject to fine .

Appealing Decisions under MESA (321 CMR 10.21 and 10.25) 

Record Owners for Projects or Activities that the Division has determined under 321 CMR 10.18 will result in a Take may either apply to the Director for a Conservation and Management Permit as provided in 321 CMR 10.23, or appeal the decision as provided in 321 CMR 10.25.