Functions of the Conservation Commission
The functions described here stem from the combined authority granted Conservation Commissions through the sources described in Figure 1.
- Planning. Fostering land use patterns protective of natural resources through preparing and implementing Open Space and Recreation Plans and offering assistance and advice to local planning boards.
- Preservation. Assuring the permanent protection of important local land and water resources through conservation land acquisition under the Conservation Commission Act. Careful conditioning of Wetlands Protection Act and wetlands bylaw/ordinance permits. Assisting in securing and enforcing conservation restrictions, agricultural and historic preservation restrictions and watershed restrictions; and encouraging, in conjunction with assessors and other municipal officials, the placing of land in the Chapter 61, 61A, and 61B programs.
- Stewardship. Management of conservation lands for a variety of benefits, including to foster biodiversity of species and habitats and to provide appropriate recreational uses tied to the nature of the particular conservation area.
- Regulation. Relating to the use of conservation lands and the protection of wetlands and floodplains under the Wetlands Protection Act and local bylaws and ordinances.
- Recreation. Passive (and to some degree active) use of open space.
- Productive or Economic. Represented by appropriate, environmentally sound agriculture, forestry and fishing on conservation lands.
- Education. Encouraging a conservation ethic in the community; hosting walks and other events.
- Coordination. Working with friends groups, non-profit environmental organizations, etc. in the interest of natural resource protection.
Figure 1: Sources of Conservation Commission Authority