Town of Wendell, Massachusetts

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Home Town Government Zoning & Land Use Conservation Commission
Conservation Commission

altThe Wendell Conservation Commission is a three-member board established to administer the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act (MGL Chapter 131, Section 40) and collaborate with various town departments on wetland issues. Wetlands and floodplains are protected because they play a vital role in serving the following public interests:

  • Protection of Public and private water supply
  • Protection of Groundwater supply
  • Flood control and storm damage prevention
  • Pollution prevention
  • Protection of fisheries and wildlife habitat

Understanding the Wetlands Protection Act (WPA):

The Wetlands Protection Act is the state law that ensures critical natural resources that serve public interests are protected. Wetland Resource Areas include:

  • "Buffer zone" - Any land within 100 feet of a wetland or bank of a stream, this is protected because of its importance to the wetland and to wildlife habitat

  • Floodplains - areas along streams or rivers that are flooded in major storms

  • Vegetated wetlands - areas where soils are wet and where wetland plants, such as red maple, skunk cabbage, cattails, cinnamon and sensitive fern occur

  • Wet meadows
  • Man-made ponds or ditches
  • Riverfront Area - All land within 200 feet of a river or perennially-flowing stream, measured horizontally from the top of the bank of the river or stream (not at an angle up a hill) - the "riverfront area" is protected by The Rivers Act

  • Bordering land subject to flooding - The area flooded by 100-year (or less) storm events

  • Isolated land subject to flooding - Isolated areas that flood and hold at least 1/4 acre foot, 6 inches deep at least once a year

Any building project that takes place in one of these Resource Areas or a buffer zone of a Resource Area requires a filing with the Conservation Commission.

A good regulatory definition of the term "wetland" may be found in the Federal Clean Water Act:

  • Those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.

  • As such, wetlands are defined -- or delineated -- according to three criteria:

    • Hydrophytic vegetation: water-tolerant plants that have adapted to wetland conditions

    • Hydric soils: water-saturated soils that have become oxygen deficient. Indicators of hydric Soils form after being inundated for a week or more during the growing season

    • Other indicators of the hydrologic regime: dominated by the presence of water through flooding or saturated ground, including intermittent stream channels, shallow rooting, etc.

Working Under the Wetlands Protection Act - Requesting a Site Visit:

Most projects (i.e. perc. tests, additions, paving roadways, building accessory structures, swimming pools, etc.) that require building permits from the Building Department first require a sign-off from the Conservation Commission. To complete this first step, stop by the Commission office at Town Hall and complete a Site Visit form. The form requires you to provide the following information:

  • the project location (map & lot number)
  • a brief description of the work to be done
  • a basic site plan showing where the proposed project will take place

In addition, the location of the proposed work should be flagged or staked in the field. The Conservation Commission will conduct an inspection within 14 days. If no wetland resources are present, the Commissioner will sign-off on the project and no further filing with the Commission for the project is necessary. If wetland resources are present near the proposed work site, the Commissioner will advise the applicant on how to proceed. Usually a Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA) or a Notice of Intent (NOI) are required.

Forest Management Discussion Coming Up

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Join wildlife biologist David King on Thursday, June 16 from 7:30 am - 10:30 am at Wickett Pond to share a morning of birding and discussion surrounding wildlife habitat issues and forest management opportunities for your land. Space is limited, please RSVP to Fletcher Clark 413-22-2367 or by emailing


Wendell Wetlands Bylaw 694Kb

Special Permit Application 44kb
References To Commonwealth of Massachusetts Websites
Wetland Law
Rivers Protection Act

Wetland Protection Act
Form1 Request for Determination of Applicability
Microsoft Word Acrobat pdf
Form3 Determination of Applicability
Microsoft Word Acrobat pdf
Form4 Abbreviated Notice of Intent
Microsoft Word Acrobat pdf
Form 4a Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation
Microsoft Word Acrobat pdf
Form 7 Extension Permit for Order of Conditions
Microsoft Word Acrobat pdf
8a Request for Certificate of Compliance
Microsoft Word Acrobat pdf

NOI Wetland Fee Transmittal Form
Microsoft Word Acrobat pdf

Other Permits Reporting and Forms


Conservation Commission Minutes

Coming Events

AA Open Meeting
Sat May 26 @06:00PM - 07:00PM
Wendell Meditation Group
Sun May 27 @08:30AM - 09:30AM
AA Open Meeting
Sun May 27 @06:00PM - 07:00PM
Assessors Meeting
Wed May 30 @06:30PM -
Wed May 30 @07:00PM -
Allen Young Reading & Book Signing
Thu May 31 @07:00PM -
Fire Department Committee
Mon Jun 04 @08:00PM -
Road Commissioners
Tue Jun 05 @06:30PM -
Annual Town Meeting
Tue Jun 05 @07:00PM -
Richard Baldwin Reception
Sat Jun 09 @03:00PM - 05:00PM

Old Home Day

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