Sunday, August 14, 2022

Annual Report Of The Conservation Commission - FY 2021

Note: FY 2021 is last year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The report was prepared to cover the business for the FY 2021 period. This year’s report FY 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) is in preparation now and is normally available for distribution at the polls for the November election. Updated - 08/15/22

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 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 FY21 the Conservation Agent reviewed and administratively approved 16 minor buffer zone applications.

During FY21 the Conservation Commission received 32 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. 

Some of the more interesting project applications before the Commission during FY21 include the Maple Hill Subdivision that was approved, the Chilson Park Playground Expansion project that was approved, and the Cottage Street/Cottage Court/Peck Street affordable housing and stream relocation project, which was denied.

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 2021.

The Commission is currently in the process of working with a local boy scout who is proposing adding informational and directional kiosks to the DelCarte area to help hikers better navigate the trails.

The Commission collects application fees for all permits that come before them. These fees paid for, among other things, the studies on the DelCarte recreation area and thus allowed the Commission to truly understand the issues facing the town in maintaining this area for quality recreation.

The Commission plans on holding an Earth Day celebration and clean up at DelCarte on October 16, 2021.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, public hearings are being held in the Council Chambers in a hybrid meeting style that residents and applicants can attend in person, or virtually, via Zoom.

There is a whole lot more to the Conservation Commission section of this annual report but the tables and other info were not easily copied for this format. 

Find the remainder of the Conservation Commission report on page  119

The full Annual Report for 2021 can be found

The collection of Annual Reports can be found online

Annual Town Report Of The Town Clerk’s Office - FY 2021
Annual Report Of The Town of Franklin - FY 2021

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