Mass. conservationists welcome executive order to protect biodiverse lands and waters

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The Parker River Refuge marshlands in Newbury. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The Parker River Refuge marshlands in Newbury. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey issued an executive order Thursday calling for more strategic conservation of Massachusetts' lands and waters.

The goal of the order is to promote biodiversity. It directs the state's Department of Fish and Game to set new conservation targets for state agencies to implement by the years 2030, 2040 and 2050.

The governor said the move is necessary to protect critically important habitats and help mitigate the effects of climate change.

"Ultimately, biodiversity is about ... the well being of people, the well being of communities, and it is critical to our climate goals," Healey said. "So that's why this order very intentionally works to deliver the strongest biodiversity policy in America."

Andy Finton, a conservation ecologist with The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts, applauded the move.

"We're critically dependent on the ecosystems around us — the wetlands, the forests, the salt marshes, the ocean," Finton said. "They give us our clean drinking water. They give us the clean air we're breathing ... literally the oxygen that we're breathing every moment. They're mitigating climate change by pulling carbon out of the atmosphere. And once these ecosystems begin to degrade, they are no longer able to do that for us."

Finton told WBUR's All Things Considered host Lisa Mullins this "first in the country" directive coalesces around a single goal of biodiversity by all state agencies.

"So every action will lead to a net positive for our plants and animals — the ecosystems that we depend on," he said.

This segment aired on September 21, 2023.


Headshot of Lynn Jolicoeur

Lynn Jolicoeur Producer/Reporter
Lynn Jolicoeur is the field producer for WBUR's All Things Considered. She also reports for the station's various local news broadcasts.


Headshot of Lisa Mullins

Lisa Mullins Host, All Things Considered
Lisa Mullins is the voice of WBUR’s All Things Considered. She anchors the program, conducts interviews and reports from the field.



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