- Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
- MassWildlife's Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program
Media Contact for Draft Priority Habitat Map of rare species available for public comment
Marion Larson, MassWildlife
MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) is now in the process of accepting public comments on its draft 15th edition of the Natural Heritage Atlas. The Natural Heritage Atlas contains Priority Habitat maps for all-state listed rare plants and animals. These maps are primarily used for determining whether or not a proposed project must be reviewed by NHESP for compliance with the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA).
Beginning May 3 through July 3, the public has the opportunity to review the new proposed version of the updated Priority Habitat map and submit comments. For instructions on how to provide feedback, please visit mass.gov/nhesp/mapcomment.
MassWildlife re-evaluates the map every 4 years. Updates are generally due to the following factors:
changes to the MESA species list and observation occurrences
species are added or removed from the list
new observations are accepted into our database
areas mapped from old observations (greater than 25 years) are removed
latest research about habitat utilization
evaluation of regulatory outcomes
improved aerial photographs and new mapping tools
NHESP is specifically requesting public comment on the status of areas proposed for delineation or removal as Priority Habitat regarding the physical or biological features of the habitat, or the current scope of existing development in the area.
NHESP is grateful for all public feedback provided to help us protect the Commonwealth’s endangered species. Click here to learn more about the work NHESP is doing to conserve rare species and their habitats throughout the Commonwealth.