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An occasional column about town activities by Tara Hughes 

August 27, 2023. Did you know that Winchester has a 7-member Conservation Commission? The members are appointed for a 3-year term by the Town Manager and approved by the Select Board. The Commission is responsible for preservation of open space in Winchester and for the implementation of the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act as it pertains to Winchester. They are also responsible for implementing the Winchester Wetlands Bylaw. As Trustees of Winchester’s conservation land, they have also established Conservation Area Land Use Regulations.

Projects that are in or near wetland resource areas must have a public hearing before the Commission. A Notice of Intent must be filed by the project. Some examples of big projects that have come before the Conservation Commission are the Eversource Woburn to Wakefield Line and the new Lynch Elementary School.  Homeowners and builders seeking building permits on lots considered wetlands, such as near ponds and streams, must also apply to the commission.  In addition to overseeing projects in or near wetland resource areas, they are also responsible for the Aberjona Initiative, an effort to restore the scenic Aberjona River. They also provide resources such as on creating a pollinator garden, a guide on native and wetland plants, how to stop the spread of the spotted lanternfly and information on the fish ladder at the Center Falls Damn including updates on herring observations in the Aberjona River.

To learn more, visit their page at: https://www.winchester.us/316/Conservation-Commission

Please note that the Conservation Commission currently has a vacancy, which term expires in 2025. 

Tara Hughes is the President of Winchester News Group and a Precinct 1 Town Meeting Member.

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