The Council operates under the provisions of a charter issued by Secretary of the Interior. Operating procedures are further defined in bylaws adopted by the Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council.
The Advisory Council was established by the Boston Harbor Islands' enabling legislation. The Council is subject to the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 USC App.), which includes the designation of a federal officer to oversee the management of the Council. The Designated Federal Officer is the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Service Superintendent. The Council reports to the Northeast Regional Director of the National Park Service.