Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Franklin Annual Report - 2020: Franklin Conservation Commission


Franklin Conservation Commission is responsible for promoting and protecting the Town of Franklin’s natural resources, and protecting the Town’s wetlands resources.

The Commission is comprised of seven volunteer residents appointed for three year terms by the Town Administrator. Current Commission members have diverse professional experience related to environmental science, biology, engineering, and project management. Because of their different backgrounds, each commissioner is able to offer a different perspective during the review of applications for a wetland permit that ultimately benefits Franklin.

Franklin has continuously been represented at the annual conference of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions each March, with Commissioners attending classes and workshops and talking with other Commissioners from across the state as well as lawyers, ecologists and engineers active in conservation.

The Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) provides administrative and technical support to the Commission.

Permitting of Work Within or Adjacent to Wetlands Resources
The majority of the Commission’s attention is directed to administering Massachusetts and Franklin wetland protection laws and regulations. Those laws and regulations require Conservation Commission permits to work in or within 100 feet of a wetland, in the 100 year flood hazard zone, or within 200 feet of a perennial stream.

During the first quarter of FY20 the Commission voted to accept fast tracking NOI/ANRAD peer review consultant services as recommended by the Conservation Agent and DPCD. This change has helped move big projects along the permitting process more quickly.

During FY20 the Conservation Agent reviewed and administratively approved 15 minor buffer zone applications.

During FY20 the Conservation Commission received 46 permit applications to work within areas under their permitting jurisdiction. In addition the Commission issued Certificates of Compliance for previously permitted projects, and granted permit extensions to allow projects to finish. The table below is a summary of Conservation Commission activity during the 2020 Fiscal Year.

Some of the more interesting project applications before the Commission during FY20 include construction of a marijuana cultivation and production facility at 160 Grove Street and the Town’s projects off Meadowlark Lane and Griffin Road to improve water quality and reduce pollutant loading in the Chicken Brook-Charles River sub-watershed.

DelCarte Conservation Area 
The Commission continues to work on the DelCarte Area (aka the Franklin Reservoirs) off of Pleasant Street. There are a series of seven “structures” (six dams that had been originally used for cranberry farming and a stone wall that beavers had dammed) along Miller brook thru the 100+ acre DelCarte Area.
The Commission retained the services of ESS, Inc. to undertake an ecological study to ascertain the flora and fauna viability in the pond and develop a long term management plan. This study, completed in 2015-2016 has given the Town a comprehensive understanding of exactly “what is there” and includes a management plan to help keep the area viable as a true recreational jewel. The first two phases of the plan’s recommendations, the treatment of invasive plant species, was undertaken in the spring/summer of 2017-2019. The Town appropriated Capital Improvement funds to help implement the next phases of this study in 2019-2020. The pond’s invasive species were treated again throughout the summer of 2020.

In addition the funds are being used to implement the ADA recommendations under the master plan developed for DelCarte. This plan, developed for the Town by Mass Audubon was presented to the Commission in the fall of 2017. The Commission began to undertake improvements to the DelCarte Recreation Area in the late summer/early fall of 2018 to bring access to the trails and the water bodies up to ADA standards and improve the overall aesthetics of the area. This portion of the improvements was completed in the spring/summer 2019.

Continue reading the report from the Conservation Commission

Prior Annual Reports can be found online

Franklin Annual Report - 2020: Franklin Conservation Commission
Franklin Annual Report - 2020: Franklin Conservation Commission

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