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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE XIX AGRICULTURE AND CONSERVATION
  • CHAPTER 131A MASSACHUSETTS ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
  • Section 1 Definitions

Section 1. The following words shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:—

“Alter”, to change the physical or biological condition of a habitat in any way that detrimentally affects the capacity of the habitat to support a population of endangered or threatened species.

“Animal”, any member of the animal kingdom including, but not limited to, any mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, mollusk, crustacean, arthropod or other invertebrate or any part, product, egg or offspring or the dead body or any part thereof.

“Director”, the director of the division of fisheries and wildlife within the department of fisheries, wildlife and environmental law enforcement, who shall have all powers hereunder that exist for purposes of chapter one hundred and thirty-one.

“Endangered species”, any species of plant or animal in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range including, but not limited to, species listed from time to time as “endangered” under the provisions of the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, and species of plants or animals in danger of extirpation, as documented by biological research and inventory.

“Land in agricultural use”, land primarily and directly used in raising animals including, but not limited to, dairy cattle, beef cattle, poultry, sheep, swine, horses, ponies, mules, goats, bees and fur-bearing animals, for the purpose of selling such animals or a product derived from such animals in the regular course of business; or when primarily and directly used in a related manner which is incidental thereto and represents a customary and necessary use in raising such animals and preparing them or the products derived therefrom for market; or when primarily and directly used in raising fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts and other foods for human consumption, feed for animals, tobacco, flowers, sod, trees, nursery or greenhouse products and ornamental plants and shrubs for the purpose of selling such products in the regular course of business; or when primarily and directly used in raising forest products and certified, in consultation with the division of fisheries and wildlife, by the state forester, to be a planned program to improve the quantity and quality of a continuous crop for the purpose of selling such products in the regular course of business; or when primarily and directly used in a related manner which is incidental thereto and represents a customary and necessary use in raising such products and preparing them for market.

“Land in aquacultural use”, land and waters used primarily and directly in the commercial cultivation of aquatic organisms including finfish, mollusk or crustacean in a controlled environment.

“Normal maintenance or improvement”, (a) all tilling and harvesting practices customarily employed to enhance existing growing conditions; (b) the pasturing of animals including the construction and maintenance of such fences as may be required; (c) the use of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other materials, subject to all state and federal laws and regulations governing the use thereof; (d) the construction, grading or restoration of field ditches, subsurface drains, grass waterways, vents, access roads, farm ponds and similar projects to improve drainage, prevent erosion, provide more effective use of rainfall and improve equipment operation and efficiency, in order to improve conditions for the growing of existing crops or the raising of animals; (e) the cultivation of cranberries, including the following practices: (i) sanding operations using existing pits; (ii) cleaning of cross ditches, canals and natural waterways; (iii) repair and replacement but not enlargement of water control structures, including flumes, pumps, dikes and piping above and below ground; (iv) repair, replacement and regrading of existing cranberry bogs; (v) repair and cleaning of reservoirs, dams and water storage systems within the limits of existing water rights.

“Person”, an individual, corporation, partnership, trust, association or other private entity or any officer, agent, department or instrumentality of the federal government or any state or its political subdivisions.

“Plant”, a member of the plant kingdom including seeds, roots, or other parts.

“Significant habitat”, specific areas of the commonwealth, designated in accordance with section four, in which are found the physical or biological features important to the conservation of a threatened or endangered species population and which may require special management considerations or protection.

“Species”, any subspecies or variety of plant or animal and any distinct plant or animal population which interbreeds or cross pollinates when mature.

“Species of special concern”, any species of plant or animal which has been documented by biological research and inventory to have suffered a decline that could threaten the species if allowed to continue unchecked or that occurs in such small numbers or with such a restricted distribution or specialized habitat requirements that it could easily become threatened within the commonwealth.

“Take”, in reference to animals, 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, to collect, pick, kill, transplant, cut or process or attempt to engage or to assist in any such conduct.

“Threatened species”, any species of plant or animal likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range including, but not limited to, species listed from time to time as “threatened” under the provisions of the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, and any species declining or rare as determined by biological research and inventory and likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future; provided, however, that the inclusion of any species on the Federal Threatened Species list shall not limit the discretion of the director to list said species as “endangered”.