In 2006, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife received approval for its State Wildlife Conservation Strategy, most often referred to as the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). The SWAP is a comprehensive document that will help guide wildlife conservation decision making for Massachusetts' wildlife for many years. The Massachusetts Action Plan file size 61MB (750 pages) is lengthy.
For ease in downloading the Plan (aka Wildlife Conservation Strategy), go first to the Plan Outline. Scroll down to the Table of Contents which allows for easily downloadable sections in smaller, more manageable chunks.
By providing electronic access both to the entire document and to individual chapters, conservation minded citizens will be able to easily find information that they need.
This plan represents an important effort by the Division to engage the public in a dialogue about the future of our wildlife resources. During development of the Massachusetts Plan, we sought public input and comment through presentations of a draft to the Fisheries and Wildlife Board, the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee, and the Massachusetts Teaming With Wildlife Coalition. In addition, the Fisheries and Wildlife Board held a public informational hearing. A draft copy of the Plan was posted prominently on the agency website for public comment. At least 4300 entities were directly notified of this website posting through the Division's newsletter, including media outlets, conservation organizations, sportsmen and other private citizens. As a result, we received over 600 website visits to the Plan. The final Plan incorporated public comments and was reposted on the website for further public review prior to formal submission to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Plan includes:
- A brief history of the Division and past successful efforts to conserve the biodiversity of the Commonwealth.
- A review of the landscape changes which have affected wildlife populations and sets the stage for problems we see facing these species today.
- An explanation of the process used to identify the habitats and species in the greatest need of conservation. Identifies the primary strategies needed to conserve these species and their habitats.
- An recognition of the need to monitor these efforts as strategies are implemented both to ensure that time and money are providing the expected results and to determine if changing conditions require a change in strategy.
Massachusetts' Plan is organized around 22 habitat types and 257 wildlife species in greatest need of conservation. The habitat types range from large-scale habitats such as Upland Forests; to medium-scale habitats like Grasslands, to small-scale habitats such as Vernal Pools. Information for each habitat type includes:
- habitat description;
- the suite of species in associated with that habitat;
- the problems and threats faced by them;
- a map showing the distribution of the habitat type across the state, when available;
- a listing of the conservation strategies needed to conserve the habitat; and
- monitoring requirements that will ensure the success of the conservation strategies.
There is also information about the 257 wildlife species in greatest need of conservation occurring in one or more of the above 22 habitat types including:
- Conservation status ranking and habitat association
- Species Life History
- State distribution and abundance
- Habitat requirement
- Conservation threats
We hope that you find the Massachusetts' Wildlife Action Plan useful in our shared efforts to conserve the natural diversity of Massachusetts' wildlife for generations to come.