- 6:30 pm
- 3rd Wednesday of every month
- Remotely on Zoom
- Laura Kozachek, Chair
- Ashley Shedd, Vice Chair
- Laura Fillmore Evans, Member
- Nathaniel Mulcahy, Member
- Jonathan E Lilja, Member
- (Open Position), Open Member Seat
- (Open Position)
Conservation Commissions were formed under the Conservation Commission Act of 1957 (G.L. Chapter 40 Section 8C) which gives Commissions responsibility for open space and other natural resource protection within their respective communities.
The Rockport Conservation Commission helps to identify key parcels that should be protected, works for acquisition by the Town or other forms of protection, and manages local lands dedicated to conservation and passive recreation. The Commission helps organize Rockport's Annual Earth Day Clean-Up among other activities and helps in other efforts to enhance the local environment.
The Conservation Commission also has a seat on the 9-member Community Preservation Committee dedicated to making recommendations on the spending of Community Preservation Act funds for open space protection, historic preservation, and affordable housing.
The Conservation Commission is responsible for administering the Massachusetts Wetlands (310 CMR 10) Protection Act (G.L. Chapter 131 Section 40) enacted in 1975 and the associated MA WPA Rules Rockport Wetlands Protection By-Law (PDF) (Rockport Code of By-Laws, Chapter 14) passed in 1972. It reviews proposed development projects in or near wetlands and other resource areas or within the 100-foot buffer zone of these resource areas. The Conservation Commission reviews plans, holds public hearings, conducts site visits, and issues Determinations of Applicability and Orders of Conditions for proposed projects to ensure that these projects do not impact resource areas that are protected by the Act or By-law. Please refer to Wetland by-Law Rules and Regulations - Revised February 29, 2012 (PDF).
Wetland resource areas protected by the Wetlands Protection Act ("the Act") cover both inland and coastal wetlands. Resource areas protected by the Rockport Wetlands By-Law, "the By-Law", include freshwater and coastal wetlands, marshes, wet meadows, bogs, swamps, vernal pools, banks, reservoirs, lakes, ponds of any size, quarry pits and motions, rivers, streams, creeks, beaches, dunes, estuaries, the ocean, lands under water bodies, lands subject to flooding or inundation by groundwater or surface water, lands subject to tidal action, lands within 100-feet of above-cited resource areas, lands subject to coastal storm flowage or flooding.
Wetland resource areas are important to safeguard because they help prevent storm damage, reduce flooding, protect ground and surface water, prevent pollution, support fish and shellfish, and they provide wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.
The Conservation Agent acts as a technical expert to - and liaison between - the Conservation Commission and the public and other Town departments, boards, and committees.
- Where can I purchase sediment control products?
Most projects that involve the Conservation Commission's stamp of approval typically must be done in an environmentally protected fashion; this includes the use of sediment control products ranging from hay bales to products such as Siltsoxx. These products and methods of containment help minimize the disturbance to the surrounding wetlands or areas and help to ensure as little impact or damage to the resource areas.
You can find these types of materials and products at the following (all in Massachusetts except where noted).
Straw Wattles / Hay Bales / Silt Fencing
- EJ Prescott - 162 North Main Street, Middleton
- Phone: 978-777-7738
- Team EJP website
Wetland Seed Mix Sources in Eastern Massachusetts
- Wetlands Preservation, Inc. - 47 Newton Road, Plaistow, NH - Phone: 603-382-3435
- New England Wetland Plants, Inc., 820 West Street, Amherst - Phone: 413-548-8000
- King's Tree Farm and Nursery - Route 133, West Boxford - Phone: 978-352-6359
- Nasami Farm Native Plant Nursery - 28 North Street, South Deerfield - Phone: 413-397-9922
- Pierson Nurseries, Inc.- 24 Buzzell Road, Biddeford, ME (they deliver to Rockport) - 207-499-2994
- New England Wildflower Society at Garden in the Woods -180 Hemenway Road, Framingham Phone: 508-877-7630
- What is the procedure for obtaining approval from the Conservation Commission? My project may be in an area regulated by the commission jurisdiction.
The process for approval varies significantly depending on what the activity is and where it will be located in relation to the wetland. Some activities like maintaining an established landscape that has existed for years on a house lot are fully exempt and do not need our approval. Other activities like adding a porch within 100' of a marsh will need our approval. Your best approach is to contact the Conservation Agent to discuss what and where the activity will be. They will work to help you determine what the requirements are.
There is generally one of four paths that may be taken:
- First, after reviewing your project, the Agent determines it is not regulated by us, no further action or approval is required by the Conservation Commission.
- The second path is the work is significant enough for review and you must appear before the Commission for their determination. All our meetings start with open time for citizen inquiries, this is to give people an opportunity to discuss these types of projects.
- The third path of the project is sufficient to require the completion of a formal application for a "Request for Determination" (RFD)
- The fourth path is the completion of a formal application describing a "Notice of Intent" (NOI). Please be advised depending on which of the processes your project requires, it may take two months or more for a determination to start your project. State law sets RFD and NOI procedures so the amount of time to apply for those generally cannot be reduced.
- What information is needed to present a project? If approved by the Conservation Commission, are other approvals needed?
The information needed for our review is also dependent on the project and its location. The Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act (WPA) and the town Wetland Bylaw and Regulations (WBR) list the information needed for applying for a Request For Determination (RFD) or Notice of Intent (NOI). Larger projects and projects more likely to directly affect a resource area could require a professional's involvement. Small projects and ones not near the resource area may only require a sketch and a written work description. The information must accurately portray the current conditions and the work you propose sufficiently to serve as a record of what you are requesting. If you contact the Conservation Agent, she will work with you so that you understand the information your project will require.
All decisions by the Conservation Commission are only in relation to our Department's review of the proposed work and requirements of the WPA and WBR. It is the property owner's responsibility to get all other approvals and permissions as needed before commencing any work.