top of page

Your Local Conservation Commission in Massachusetts


A conservation commission is a municipal environmental agency responsible for protecting the community’s natural resources. Massachusetts authorized conservation commissions in 1957, which were to focus on the promotion and development of natural resources and protection of watershed resources. Conservation commissions today use their authority to carry out work in 8 functional areas: planning, preservation, stewardship, regulation, recreation, promoting or allowing appropriate environmentally sound agriculture, forestry and fishing on conservation lands, education, and coordination with other bodies interested in natural resource preservation.



When do I need to contact the Conservation Commission?


Whenever you plan on engaging in activities that will fill, move, dredge, or alter ponds, wetlands, and buffer zones, are prohibited under the Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act and the Rivers Protection Act without first obtaining a permit from your local Conservation Commission. Activities include: building construction, removal of vegetation, excavation, grading, depositing yard waste, septic system installation, and stormwater discharge. Regulated resource areas include wetlands, ponds, and their associated buffer zones, which extend 100 feet beyond the protected area. Riverfront is a regulated resource area that extends 200 feet out from perennial streams of any size. Whenever in doubt a quick call to the Commission could save you time and avoid coming in to conflict with the regulations. It may be that a simple call will suffice and prevent someone calling in to complain.

Please Note that this site is not the official website for the Ashburnham Conservation Commission. It serves only as a resource for information on wetland topics.

For the official site visit this link.


1. Contact your town’s Conservation Office to determine whether the project falls into a protected resource area requiring permitting. 978-827-4100 ext. 117 or email: 2. If so, submit the required application, typically after working with a professional consultant. 3. The Conservation Office will schedule a public hearing, which you should attend. 4. The Conservation Commission determines approval/denial. 5. Orders of Conditions (OOC) are recorded prior to the start of work on the project. 6. Work proceeds according to the OOC. 7. Upon completion of the project request a Certificate of Completion (COC).

bottom of page