From the Berkshires to the Atlantic, the Land Protection Program identifies and protects the most ecologically important habitats throughout the Commonwealth. The program's mission is to preserve biological diversity and protect important fish and wildlife habitats and their natural communities and to provide the public recreational access to these wild lands.
The Land Protection Program is a joint project of the Department of Fish and Game and the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife . The Land Protection Program’s purpose is to protect and preserve the Commonwealth’s biological diversity - including sites that support rare species and exemplary natural communities - and to provide public access routes and areas for recreation including hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife observation, and other passive wildlife-related recreation.
Funding for the Land Protection Program comes from the DFW Wildlands Conservation Stamp (also called the Land Stamp) program and Open Space Bond funds, as well as state and federal grants and local conservation partners.
All potential acquisition projects are first evaluated and approved by the agency’s Lands Committee. The Lands Committee - comprised of staff biologists, natural resource specialists and land acquisition professionals from DFG and DFW - meets several times each year to review potential acquisitions and evaluate the merits of individual projects. High quality habitats and priority acquisition areas are delineated by the Lands Committee using a variety of information including biological records from the DFW’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) , conservation planning tools such as BioMap2 , field work by agency biologists, relevant GIS data, and professional habitat evaluation studies. These delineations are utilized by the Lands Committee to evaluate potential acquisitions. Acquisitions are also evaluated on the basis of public accessibility and the degree to which they provide recreational access to other conserved properties owned by DFW or DFG. Projects that receive the highest ranking by the Lands Committee and can be completed within the existing annual budget are pursued for acquisition. The Lands Committee submits recommended projects to the Fisheries and Wildlife Board and the DFG Commissioner for final review and approval.
The DFG/DFW Land Protection Program has protected over 200,000 acres of land. To learn more about our land protection program: