The Conservation Commission is the official agency specifically charged with the protection of Franklin’s natural resources, namely Wetland Resource Areas. The Commission also advises other municipal officials and boards on conservation issues that relate to their areas of responsibility.
The first powers given to the Commission (ref Conservation Commission Act of 1957 - MGL Ch.40 sec. 8C) focused on "promotion and development of natural resources…and protection of watershed resources". In 1972 Conservation Commissions were authorized to administer the State Wetlands Protection Act (M.G.L. Ch 131 sec. 40), the first act of its kind in the nation. Additionally, the Conservation Commission is charged with administering the Town's Wetland Protection Bylaw (Codebook, Chapter 181). (Approximately 40% of the communities in the Commonwealth have enacted some form of local wetland protection bylaw.)
The Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act prohibits any filling, excavation, or other alteration of the land surface, water levels, or vegetation in wetlands, floodplains, riverfront areas or other wetland resource areas regardless of ownership without a permit from the local Conservation Commission. There are many procedures for various proposed activities. The Conservation office would be glad to describe and explain which is best for your circumstances.
The Commission normally meets every other Thursday, at 7:00 PM in the Town Council Chambers. The hearings are broadcast live on Franklin Cable Channel 11 and are replayed the following Monday on Channel 8. Please see the program listing on the Town Website Index for more information.