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MA Endangered Species Act (MESA) Overview

The Massachusetts Endangered Species Act protects rare species and their habitats.

Purpose of the Act

The Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA) was enacted in December 1990 (M.G.L c.131A).  Implementing regulations were promulgated in 1992 and most recently revised and implemented as of October 15, 2010 (321 CMR 10.00).

The Massachusetts Endangered Species Act and its implementing regulations

  • protects rare species and their habitats by prohibiting the "Take" of any plant or animal species listed as Endangered, Threatened, or Special Concern
  • establish procedures for the listing and protection of rare plants and animals
  • outline project review filing requirements for projects or activities that are located within a  Priority Habitat of Rare Species
  • provide clear review timelines and establish an appeal process for agency actions  

Additional Resources for Purpose of the Act

Take

Take is defined as the following:

In reference to animals, means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, hound, kill, trap, capture, collect, process, disrupt the nesting, breeding, feeding or migratory activity or attempt to engage in any such conduct, or to assist such conduct,

and in reference to plants, means to collect, pick, kill, transplant, cut or process or attempt to engage or to assist in any such conduct. Disruption of nesting, breeding, feeding or migratory activity may result from, but is not limited to, the modification, degradation or destruction of Habitat.

Permits for taking rare species

Permits for “taking” rare species for

  • scientific
  • educational
  • conservation, or
  • management purposes

can be granted by the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.

Additional Resources for Permits for taking rare species

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