MassGIS 2003 Massachusetts NHESP Priority Sites of Rare Species Habitats Exemplary Natural Communities (June 1999)
- The Priority Habitats of Rare Species datalayer consists of polygons that represent estimations of important state-listed rare species habitats in Massachusetts. These habitats are based on rare species population records maintained in the Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program (NHESP) database. The polygons are spatially represented at 1:25000 or 1:24000 on the Program's series of USGS topographic maps. Program scientists draw approximate habitats by analyzing population records, species habitat requirements, and available information about the landscape (particularly from topographic maps and aerial photographs). Most habitat sites are not visited prior to the drawing of these habitats. These polygons are NOT equivalent to "significant habitat" as may be designated according to the regulations of the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA). Priority habitats are not protected under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act, but the rare species that use the habitats are protected by that law.
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