When do I need to file with the Conservation Commission? When work is being proposed within 100 feet of a wetland (pond, lake, stream or wetland) or 200 feet from a river, a permit from the Conservation Commission is required. The Commission is enforcing the state Wetlands Protection Act. Please call
the Conservation Department office or e-mail us if you are not sure if there are wetlands on or near your property or proposed project.
Does the Commission have a local wetlands ordinance? No the Commission does not have a local ordinance, however, the Commission does have a 20 foot wetland setback policy which prohibits any work within 20 feet of the wetland. Since wetlands are important to a healthy environment, the 20-foot buffer zone provides added protection to this sensitive resource area. Click here for a copy of the 20 foot wetland
Why are wetlands protected? Wetlands are important for the protection of surface and groundwater supplies, they help prevent storm damage, provide flood control, and they provide habitat to fisheries, shell fish, and wildlife. Wetlands act as natures “water purification system” and are extremely vital to a healthy environment.
What constitutes work in or near wetlands? Work is any activity which will change the grade of the land or move dirt, create mud or silt, or alter the land by building a structure on a site within 100 feet of a wetland or 200 feet of a river.
What permit shall I use and when should I file it?The Commission meets twice a month on the first and third Thursdays of the month. All applications for a permit must be submitted to the Commission two weeks before the hearing so that a legal notice can be placed in the newspaper, to advertise this public hearing. The permit application forms are found on line at the DEP web site http://mass.gov/dep/water/approvals/wwforms.htm
*For simple projects involving installation of sheds, removal of a few trees or minor landscaping within 100 feet of a wetland a Request for Determination of Applicability can be filed, this forms can be obtained at http://mass.gov/dep/water/approvals/wpaform1.doc
If you have any questions on what forms to use, please call the office and ask for assistance. Unfortunately these are state forms and can be complicated, so please do not hesitate to ask for help, that’s what we are here for!
How do I know if I have wetlands on my property? For new projects, the landowner should hire a wetland consultant to delineate the wetland boundaries. Wetlands in Massachusetts are defined by the wetland vegetation, wetland soils and hydrology. Wetlands may only have water in them in the spring or during times of high ground water. It is the plants, the soils and the hydrology, which provide the evidence of the wetland boundary. If you are uncertain whether you have wetlands on your property please call the Conservation Department and we can help you make this determination.
If it is a project constructed on or before 1980 the Commission may have files on the lot so call the Conservation Department office and we can look up whether there is a file on your property and if there are wetlands on or near your property.
Where are the cities Conservation Lands and walking trails and are there maps available?
The city maintains six parcels of conservation land with trail systems. These are located throughout the city. Two State parks, Callahan State Park and Marlborough State Forest also exist within the City's boundaries. The Assabet River Rail Trail a trail constructed on an old railroad line will be open in the summer of 2005 for walking, inline skating, biking and jogging. Trail maps and links to all these parcels are available on this web page, click on Conservation Land Trail Maps in the upper left hand corner of the Conservation Commission home page. Maps are also available in paper form in the Conservation Office at City Hall 3rd floor from 9-5 M-F.
Does the City have an Open Space Plan? The city has an open space and recreation plan which is attached, please click here Open Space and Recreation Plan 2003-2008. The maps associated with this plan can be found at
The plan is updated every 5 years and provides the vision to guide the elected officials in what lands are important for recreation and conservation.
If you have further questions whom should you call?
Call the Conservation Office at 508-460-3768 (8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday) or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org