While visiting our conservation areas, please leave only footprints and take only pictures.
Facts You Should Know About The Mansfield Conservation Commission
What is the Conservation Commission’s role in Town?
The Conservation Department and Conservation Commission are responsible for permitting and enforcement of the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and the more protective Wetland Bylaw, Chapter 172. Under the Conservation Commission Act they are charged with the protection of a community’s natural resources. They are involved with open space acquisition and the management of conservation lands.
Why do we protect wetlands?
Wetlands provide many invaluable functions to a healthy ecosystem and to society. Under the Wetlands Protection Act there are eight interests that are protected:
- Protection of public and private water supply
- Protection of ground water supply
- Flood control
- Storm damage prevention
- Prevention of pollution
- Protection of land containing shellfish
- Protection of fisheries
- Protection of wildlife habitat
Additional interests under the Town Bylaw, Chapter 172:
- Rare species habitat
- Agriculture and aquaculture
- Water quality
When am I required to file an application with the Conservation Commission?
Under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act Regulations (310 CMR 10.00) the Conservation Commission has statutory jurisdiction for activities within the 200 foot Riverfront Area of perennial streams and within 100 foot buffer zone to wetlands including, but not limited to inland banks, swamps, and marshes. The Mansfield Conservation Commission also has jurisdiction within the 100 Year Flood-plain and 100 feet from vernal pools under Chapter 15 of the Town’s General Bylaws.
There are two kinds of applications under these regulations. For small projects 50 feet and greater away from wetland resources a Request for Determination of Applicability may be filed. Examples of small projects that may fall under this category could be the construction of decks, sheds, and native landscaping.
The second type of filing is the Notice of Intent filing which is for more complex projects such as construction of commercial/industrial buildings, subdivisions, dwellings, removal of vegetation, regrading, and additions. These projects often require engineered plans showing the wetland resources on-site, abutter notification, and a public hearing.
Forms are available at the Conservation Commission’s Office or on the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection website: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/