The Conservation Commission is the official local authority specifically charged with the protection of Southborough’s natural resources. The Commission also advises other municipal officials and boards on conservation issues that relate to their areas of responsibility.
The first powers given to the Commission (ref Conservation Commission Act of 1957 - 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 MA Wetlands Protection Act (M.G.L. Ch. 131 Section 40), the first act of its kind in the nation.
Additionally, the Conservation Commission is charged with administering the MA Rivers Protection Act (MGL Ch. 268, Acts of 1996), the Southborough Wetland Protection Bylaw (Chapter 170), and the Southborough Stormwater and Erosion Control Bylaw (Zoning Code Section 174.13.5). Approximately 40% of the communities in the Commonwealth have enacted some form of local wetland protection bylaw. Conservation Commissions are also charged with preserving important local land and water resources through land acquisition and through conservation restrictions, and with management and stewardship of conservation lands.
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 which need to be followed for various proposed activities. The Conservation office is here to guide you through the process, and to help you determine which process is best for your circumstances.