Since our founders first organized to stop the killing of birds for their plumage in 1896, Mass Audubon has been fighting to conserve land and defend the biodiversity and wildlife of Massachusetts. Now, we’re continuing our historic mission with two more goals that meet the challenges of our time: breaking down the racial and socioeconomic barriers to nature in Massachusetts and fighting the climate crisis through nature-based climate solutions.
We’re working to pass an ambitious slate of policies during the 2023-2024 legislative session. Learn about all the bills we're backing this year, then join us in advocating for a transformative policy agenda!
Preserving Natural and Working Lands as a Climate Solution
Forests, farms, and wetlands store a huge amount of carbon, in addition to cleaning our air and water and reducing extreme heat, drought, and flooding. We’re pushing to ensure that protecting nature is at the core of Massachusetts’ response to the climate crisis.
Streamlining Wetlands Restoration
Restoring wetlands is essential to climate action in Massachusetts—wetlands can capture carbon out of the atmosphere up to 10 times faster than mature forests.
Our scientists are working to revitalize degraded wetlands, but outdated regulations meant to protect wetlands are creating years of delays in securing permits. Bills H906/S457 would streamline permitting for wetlands restoration, so we can accelerate the work of rejuvenating these vibrant ecosystems.
Creating Forest and Farmland Friendly Communities
From June 2012 to June 2017, approximately 24,700 acres of natural land were converted to development in Massachusetts. That’s 13.5 acres of forests, farmlands, fields, or wetlands lost per day—over half the size of the Boston Public Garden.
We're collaborating with the Healey-Driscoll Administration on Forests as Climate Solutions, an initiative to expand the state's network of forest reserves and incentivize landowners to practice climate-smart forestry. We're also supporting Bill S448, which would empower towns and cities to adopt regulations protecting their remaining natural lands in exchange for state funding, a major incentive for nature conservation.
Planning a Managed Retreat from Flood-Prone Lands
Climate change is bringing sea level rise and more extreme storms to Massachusetts, causing coastal areas to flood and rivers to overflow their banks. When flooding becomes so severe and regular that protection is no longer feasible, the best solution is a managed retreat from flood-prone areas. Bills S557/H876 explore a program for the state to voluntarily purchase properties at extreme risk of flooding and restore them to the best flood control barriers possible: wetlands and other natural coastal and riverside habitats.
Securing Equitable Access to Nature
We’re fighting to make sure everyone in Massachusetts has safe access to nature, no matter their race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, or income.
$1 Billion for Nature & Climate
We're building on $1 Billion for Nature & Climate, our successful advocacy campaign to secure nearly a billion dollars in one-time state investments in nature and climate. Massachusetts still has almost a billion dollars in uncommitted federal COVID relief funds and state budget surplus funds that need to be invested. We’ll be pushing for increased investments in climate resilience, trails, urban green spaces, and land conservation across the board.
Creating a Fund for Climate Resilience in Environmental Justice Communities
For decades, Black, Indigenous, and low-income communities have faced greater exposure to toxic pollutants and natural disasters in Massachusetts. Now, extreme heat, flooding, and other climate change impacts threaten these communities the most. Bills S472/H750 would create a new fund to support local climate adaptation and mitigation projects, requiring the majority of funds to be spent in low-income communities or communities of color.
Pushing for Responsible Clean Energy Development
To fight the climate crisis, we must shift to 100% clean energy as quickly as possible. We're working to drive the clean energy transition while safeguarding our irreplaceable ecosystems and wildlife.
Incentivizing Solar Energy Development on Developed Land
Massachusetts needs to radically scale up solar energy production to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Unfortunately, our current pattern of solar development is harming nature—5,000 acres of forest were cleared for solar projects over the last decade. Bills H3225/S2150 would incentivize solar energy projects on developed or degraded lands like parking lots, former industrial sites, and rooftops, because we don’t need to sacrifice our forests, farms, and fields to generate clean energy.
Making Massachusetts a Leader on Responsible Wind Energy
In May, 2023 Governor Maura Healey’s administration released a request for offshore wind energy proposals that could provide up to 25% of Massachusetts’ power. This is a crucial opportunity to ensure that our strategy for offshore wind development is ecologically responsible. Bill S3161 would streamline the process for building wind turbines. Bill S506 would create a working group to set standards for monitoring and mitigating the wildlife impacts of offshore wind development. Offshore wind projects can be designed with extremely limited impacts to wildlife; this bill would ensure developers are held accountable for mitigating any harm their projects cause to nature.
Safeguarding Biodiversity and Vulnerable Habitats
Protecting birds, wildlife, and habitat has been our core mission for over a century. We're constantly evaluating new threats and striving to regulate dangerous poisons that harm people and ecosystems.
Enhancing Pollinator Habitats
Plants rely on bees, butterflies, bats, flies, birds, and other pollinators to reproduce, which means we rely on them for all the food that we eat. But pollinators are under serious threat; three bumblebee species in the eastern United States have declined by over 90% in the past 30 years. Bills H843/S520 would commission a study on how Massachusetts can enhance its pollinator habitat and put these essential species on a path towards recovery.
Protecting People and Predators from Dangerous Rodenticides
Second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) are devastating Massachusetts wildlife. When eagles, hawks, foxes, and other predators consume rodents that have ingested these deadly poisons, they develop uncontrollable bleeding that often leads to slow, painful deaths. Bills H825/S487 would tightly regulate the use of SGARs, especially near schools and large campuses where children could be exposed, and make a first step towards banning them entirely in Massachusetts.
Creating an Ecosystem-Friendly Mosquito Control System
Massachusetts has an outdated mosquito control system that relies on aerial spraying of insecticides that harm human and ecosystem health. Bills H845/S445 would create a safer mosquito control system by banning aerial spraying, banning pesticides that contain PFAS, and allowing cities, towns, and landowners to determine the mosquito management method that works best for them.
Stay Connected with Policy and Advocacy
Learn about opportunities to advocate for our transformative policy agenda