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View the most up to date Priority & Estimated habitats (14th Edition Natural Heritage Atlas, August 1, 2017): interactive map viewer
Priority Habitat is based on the known geographical extent of habitat for all state-listed rare species, both plants and animals, and is codified under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA). Habitat alteration within Priority Habitats may result in a take of a state-listed species, and is subject to regulatory review by the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program.
Estimated Habitats are a sub-set of the Priority Habitats, and are based on the geographical extent of habitat of state-listed rare wetlands wildlife and is codified under the Wetlands Protection Act (WPA), which does not protect plants. State-listed wetland wildlife species are protected under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act as well as the Wetlands Protection Act.
Access to Priority and Estimated Habitat maps is provided through a variety of sources:
It is the responsibility of the land owner or project proponent to determine if their project falls within Priority Habitat or Estimated Habitat and requires review. Failure to file under MESA constitutes a violation of the Act and is subject to a fine (pursuant to 10.06).
We will re-evaluate the map every 4 years. The current map was released August 1, 2017 (the 14th Edition Natural Heritage Atlas).
Updates are generally due to the following factors:
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Southeastern Massachusetts/Cape & Islands