Due to the current public health emergency posed by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Governor issued “COVID-19 Order No. 17” on March 26, 2020 (see link here). This Order suspends state permitting deadlines and extends the validity of existing state permits. This suspension applies to all applications submitted or received after the Governor’s state of emergency declaration on March 10, 2020. This suspension also applies to all applications received before but with deadlines occurring after March 10, 2020. The review time period for these applications shall resume 45 days after the termination of the current state of emergency. Until that time, the Division will continue to review applications as quickly as possible. Permits and other authorizations valid as of March 10, 2020 shall not lapse or otherwise expire until the termination of the current state of emergency.
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 January 10, 2020 (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
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.
Additional Resources for
Permits for taking rare species
Permits for “taking” rare species for
- conservation, or
- management purposes
can be granted by the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.