The role of the Conservation Commission is to protect the water resources in Becket by ensuring compliance with the state’s Wetlands Protection Act, and any associated local policies. These water resources are also referred to as resource areas and include:
· Land subject to flooding
· Riverfront areas (also protected through the Rivers Protection Act)
· Land under water bodies
· Banks of water bodies
The Wetlands Protection Act [Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) Chapter 131, Section 40] protects wetlands and the public interests they serve, including flood control, prevention of pollution and storm damage, and protection of public and private water supplies, groundwater supply, fisheries, land containing shellfish, and wildlife habitat. These public interests are protected by requiring a careful review and permitting by local Conservation Commissions of proposed work that may alter these resource areas.
The Wetlands Protection Act prohibits any filling, excavation, or other alteration of the land surface, water levels, or vegetation in wetlands, floodplains, riverfront areas, vernal pools, or other wetland resource areas, regardless of ownership, without a permit from the Conservation Commission. These areas are defined by the type of vegetation, water activity, and soils, and it may take a qualified specialist to determine their boundaries.
If you are considering doing any alteration to land on or near the above resource areas, you may need to obtain a permit from the Becket Conservation Commission. The Commission issues these permits on behalf of, and with the assistance of, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).