The first powers given to the Commission (Conservation Commission Act of 1957 - Massachusetts General Law (MGL) Chapter 40 section 8C) focused on "promotion and development of natural resources… and protection of watershed resources". In 1972 Conservation Commissions were authorized to administer the State Wetlands Protection Act (MGL Chapter 131 section 40), the first act of its kind in the nation.
The Conservation Commission is charged with administering the Wetland Protection Bylaw (PDF). (Approximately 40% of the communities in the Commonwealth have enacted some form of local wetland protection bylaw.)
The Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act prohibits any filling, excavation, or other alteration of the land surface, water levels, or vegetation in wetlands, floodplains, riverfront areas or other wetland resource areas regardless of ownership without a permit from the local Conservation Commission. There are many procedures for various proposed activities. The Conservation office would be glad to describe and explain which is best for your circumstances.
Landscaping & Building
If you are planning any landscaping or building within 100 feet of a wetland or 200 feet of a stream, please contact the Conservation Office to determine whether you will need a permit. Please call us before you break ground or cut trees!
Permit Application Forms
When a property owner or project applicant wants to perform work in areas in or adjacent to Wetland Resource Areas (WRA), a permit is often required from the Conservation Commission (ConCom) to ensure that the WRA is properly protected from project impacts, or that mitigation of those impacts are properly implemented. The ConCom has jurisdiction in areas primarily defined in the Wetlands Protection Act (Massachusetts General Law Chapter 131 Section 40) and further defined in the enforcing regulations (310 CMR 10.00 (PDF)) and the Local Wetland Bylaws (PDF).
The Town of Douglas currently relies upon the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for relevant Permit Applications Forms.