Wetlands Protection Act

The Wetlands Protection Act (WPA) (MGL Chapter 131, Section 40) protects wetlands as well as other resource areas 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, and wildlife habitat.

At the local level, the city or town conservation commission administers the WPA.  The commission is a volunteer board with up to 7 members appointed by the selectmen or city council. 

What are the protected resource areas?

  1. Bank of any creek, river, stream, pond or lake
  2. Bordering Vegetated Wetlands such as wet meadows, marshes, swamps and bogs that border rivers, and streams, vernal pools, ponds and lakes.
  3. Land Under Water Bodies and Waterways under any creek, river, stream, pond or lake.
  4. Land Subject to Flooding (bordering and isolated areas)
  5. Riverfront Area – A riverfront area is the area of land between a river’s mean annual high water mark line and a parallel line measured horizontally typically 200’ out.
  6. Buffer Zone - Both bank and bordering vegetated wetlands have a 100’ regulated area known as the buffer zone.

If you are unsure whether your proposed work site is in a resource area or whether the work will alter a resource area, please contact the Commission for guidance.