Due to COVID-19, the Conservation Commission will be holding all meetings virtually until further notice.
Meetings will be held through the Zoom application. Links and call-in information for joining meetings can be found in the "Most Recent Agenda" link. Conservation Commission submissions/applications, please visit the "Current Applications" link.
Conservation Commissions' Legislative Authority
In Massachusetts, conservation commissions' authority comes from several sources: the Conservation Commission Act (MGL Chapter 40 section 8C) for open space protection; the Wetlands Protection Act (MGL Chapter 131 section 40) for protecting wetlands and waterways (commissions have real power - they issue the permits); and the home rule provisions of the state constitution for non-zoning wetlands bylaws. All state statutes can be found in the Massachusetts General Laws by clicking here. You can learn more at the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions by clicking here.
In Amherst, the Conservation Commission is a seven-member board appointed by the Town Manager and charged with ensuring the protection of the Town's natural resources and conservation areas. The Commission is responsible for administering and enforcing both the state Wetlands Protection Act and the Town of Amherst Wetlands Protection Bylaw which involves reviewing and permitting projects within their jurisdiction, this includes: wetlands, waterbodies, floodplains, riverfront, and buffer zones. The Commission also works closely with the Conservation Department on management of conservation land, including over 80 miles of trails, and establishing environmental policy such as updating the Open Space and Recreation Plan.
Massachusetts General Law
Conservation Commission Act:
Wetlands Protection Act:
Wetlands Protection Act Regulations
Home Rule Authority
Wetland Bylaw (PDF - 35KB)
Wetland Regulations(PDF - 159KB)
Town of Amherst Wetlands Protection Bylaw and Regulations
The Town of Amherst Wetlands Protection Bylaw and accompanying regulations are available in the Conservation Department for the price of $10. If you would like a copy mailed to you, please send a check to the Conservation Department with your request and include an additional $2.50 for postage and handling.
Conservation Land Use Application
Click here to apply online.
Wetland Application Forms
Please visit the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's website for Wetlands Permitting Forms by clicking here.
Wetland Protection Act Fees
Please visit the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's website for fee schedules by clicking here. For Town of Amherst permit filing fees please see page 32 of the Wetland Regulations.
Town of Amherst Abutter Notifications
Please submit questions or applications to Erin Jacque, Wetlands Administrator., 4 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst, MA 01002.
The first powers given to conservation commissions in the Conservation Commission Act focused on "promotion and development of natural resources...and protection of watershed resources." Under these powers commissions undertake planning, acquiring, and managing open space, and encouraging and monitoring conservation and agricultural preservation restrictions.
A commission may accept gifts of money or land with the approval of the city council or select board, thus avoiding the delays associated with obtaining town meeting approval.
The Conservation Commission Act authorizes conservation commissions to inventory the municipality's natural resources and to prepare relevant maps and plans. Open Space and Recreation Plans are therefore coordinated by Commissions. These important documents are a prerequisite for securing Self-Help moneys for open space acquisition. Conservation commissions also have the authority to adopt rules and regulations for the use of conservation land. These regulations have the full force of law; they are not merely "guidelines."
To learn more click here Version OptionsConservation CommissionHeadline.
Members are appointed by the Town Manager: 7 members / 3-year terms.
|Committee Member Name||Year Appointed||Term Expires|
|Jenn Fair, Chair||2018||2023|
|LeRoy Gaynor, Vice Chair||2020||2022|