Duties and Responsibilities

The Topsfield Conservation Commission is responsible for the preservation and protection of wetlands, floodplains, water resources, and adjoining land areas in the Town of Topsfield. The following is a list of the interests protected by the Conservation Commission's Bylaw: public and private water supply; groundwater and surface water; flood control; erosion and sedimentation control; storm damage prevention; water quality; water pollution prevention; fisheries; wildlife habitat; and recreation.

The Resource Areas over which the Commission has jurisdiction are as follows: freshwater wetlands; bodies of water; land under water; banks; land within 100 feet of freshwater wetlands, bodies of water, land under water, or banks; riverfront area (within 200 feet of a stream that flows year-round); and land subject to flooding. It is unlawful to remove soil or vegetation from, fill, dredge, build upon, discharge storm or wastewater into, or otherwise alter these areas without a permit.

Much of the Commission's time is spent issuing determinations of wetland resource area boundaries and issuing permits for activities within or near wetland resource areas. Under provisions of the Bylaw and Regulations, environmental violation citations with fines may be issued for several types or violations, including alternations of wetlands resource areas, alternations within 100 feet of such areas without a permit, and failure to comply with the requirements of a permit that has been issued.

The Conservation Commission also acquires, manages and protects land for the conservation of the Town water supply, wetlands, and rare and endangered species.

The Conservation Commission is made up of five volunteer members appointed by the Board of Selectmen. Appointments begin July 1 and end three years later on June 30; they are renewable.