Wetlands Protection Regulations and Forms

Wetlands are found throughout Canton.  Wetlands are areas where water is at or just below the surface of the ground. Although these wetlands can appear dry during some seasons, they contain enough water to support certain plants and soils. Inland wetlands include marshes, wet meadows, bogs, and swamps.

While we now recognize the benefits of wetlands, that recognition has come late. Since Colonial times, almost one third of Massachusetts' wetlands have been destroyed. Concerned about the loss of wetlands, Massachusetts adopted the nation's first wetlands protection laws in the early 1960s. Today, wetlands are protected by federal, state and local laws.

The Wetlands Protection Act (Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) Chapter 131, Section 40) and the Town of Canton Wetland Protection Bylaw XV (1980) protect wetlands 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, land containing shellfish, and wildlife habitat. These public interests are protected by requiring a careful review of proposed work that may alter wetlands. The law protects not only wetlands, but other resource areas, such as land subject to flooding (100-year floodplains), the riverfront area (added by the Rivers Protection Act), and land under water bodies, waterways, fish runs, and the ocean.

The Canton Conservation Commission ensures that proposed activities will not alter resource areas and the public interests they provide by reviewing projects on a case-by-case basis according to regulations [310 Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) 10.00]. The regulations describe how each type of resource area provides one or more of the public interests. The regulations also spell out the type and extent of work allowed in resource areas. Proposed work must meet these standards. This information helps landowners and developers plan their work and helps commissions apply the law to specific projects.

The law regulates many types of work in resource areas, including vegetation removal, regrading, and construction of houses, additions, decks, driveways, and commercial or industrial buildings. The Canton Conservation Commission supports "smart growth". Land disturbing activities and new construction projects including redevelopment are important for economic growth, public access and safety, and overall improvements of daily life. Protecting wetlands through our Wetland Permit process helps protect our health and the health of our community while still allowing for construction activity.

To find the forms needed to apply for a permit from the Canton Conservation Commission, please see below or visit the Department of Environmental Protection website : https://www.mass.gov/lists/wetlands-permitting-forms