Bernard “Buck” Denouden
Jessica Van Steensburg
The primary function of the Conservation Commission is to preserve and protect the local wetland resource areas, as defined in the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act. Since colonial times, Massachusetts has lost nearly one third of its wetlands. The loss of wetlands means the loss of important benefits they provide. This includes the protection of water quality and water supplies, storm water and flood damage prevention, and the protection of wildlife and plant habitat. Our goal is to protect the community’s natural resources for present and future generations.
The Conservation Commission is composed of appointed town officials who serve as unpaid volunteers. The Commission meets on the fourth Thursday of each month for the conduct of regular business and for public hearings. When necessary, meetings may be scheduled on alternate dates. Check the bulletin board in the entry hall of Sawyer Hall for additional posted meetings and schedule changes.
Commissions’ Legislative Authority
In Massachusetts, Conservation Commissions’ authority comes from several sources: the Conservation Commission Act (MGL Chapter 40 section 8C) for open space protection; the Wetlands Protection Act (MGL Chapter 131 section 40) for protecting wetlands and waterways (Commissions have real power - they issue the permits); and the home rule provisions of the state constitution for non-zoning wetlands bylaws. All state statutes can be found in the Massachusetts General Laws on the state web site.