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MA Endangered Species Act (MESA) Overview

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

Requesting Electronic Submittals

In light of current events, all non-essential state employees are working remotely. Electronic submittals, in addition to the required paper submittal, of Notices of Intent, MESA Project Review Checklists, Conservation and Management Permit applications, and Information Requests will now be requested. An electronic copy of the complete submittal (including all attachments) should be sent using a file share service to  

Please ensure that the entire electronic submittal, including attachments and site plans, are accessible and legible and that the link to download the electronic submittal can be accessed by others (not just the direct recipient). Due to volume restrictions of the email system, please do not directly send the electronic submittal as a PDF Please be prepared to provide copies of electronic submittals in an alternative format (such as reduced file sizes or zip files) if requested. The electronic copy may be sent in advance of or concurrent with the paper copy.

The thirty day regulatory review period will not begin until a complete paper copy of the submittal, including all attachments and the filing fee, is received by the Division. The paper copy must be mailed to:

1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westbrough, MA, 01581, Attention: Regulatory Review

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

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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.

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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.

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