Spotlight on Bedford’s Conservation Commission

 

Fawn Lake, from Springs Road – Image (c) JMcCT, 2014 all rights reserved

 

Do you want to have a say in how Bedford oversees the protection of wetlands, waterbodies, waterways, floodplains, and riverfront areas, and the acquisition and maintenance of open space land? Did you know that Bedford’s Conservation Commission (ConCom) currently has ONE opening for members? In this and future spotlights, the Volunteer Coordinating Committee will let Bedford residents know a little more about some town committees that could use your help.

The Conservation Commission is a Town Board comprised of seven (7) full members appointed by the Select Board of Bedford for three (3) year terms.  The Conservation Commission is unusual among Town Boards in that it derives its jurisdiction from the Conservation Commission Act (M.G.L. Chapter 40, section 8C), the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act (M.G.L. Chapter 131, section 40), the Rivers Protection Act (St. 1996, c. 258) and the Town of Bedford Wetlands Protection Bylaw (General Bylaws, Section 54, as adopted at the 1987 Annual Town Meeting and amended through ATM95). The ConCom is thus the legal entity charged with assuring compliance with Town, State, and Federal environmental laws and regulations. A major part of the work of the ConCom is the review of requests for permits to allow work that might impact wetland resource areas. That process includes holding public hearings, site visits, possibly engaging expert consultants, and issuance of permits for allowable projects. In addition, the ConCom oversees the management of Town Conservation Areas (such as Fawn Lake) and works closely with the Trails Committee and the DPW to maintain open space in Bedford.  The Conservation Commission typically meets once per month, in the evenings.

The ConCom is a wonderful opportunity for citizens who are interested in protecting the natural beauty and character of Bedford. Recently, the ConCom has worked on projects such as the revitalization of Fawn Lake through dredging, increasing its depth to provide improved environment for aquatic and amphibious flora and fauna. According to current Committee member Allan Wirth, some skills helpful for the ConCom are: comfort in reading maps and plans, background knowledge about the value of wetlands in the ecosystem, and an appreciation of the natural resources that the Town possesses.

For more information on this board, please visit https://www.bedfordma.gov/conservation-commission. For more information on Bedford’s volunteer process, including links to VCC contact information and the volunteer application, please visit https://www.bedfordma.gov/volunteer-coordinating-committee.

~ Submitted by Bedford’s Volunteer Coordinating Committee