Wetlands are protected in Massachusetts under the Wetlands Protection Act (M.G.L. Ch. 131, § 40), and Regulations (310 CMR 10.00), to ensure the public’s interests in wetland resource areas are not degraded or diminished.  We often think of wetlands as marshes and swamps, however, the Wetlands Protection Act has a broader definition of wetlands which includes flood zones, coastal beaches and dunes, intertidal flats, salt marshes, eelgrass, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams and areas immediate to these waterways.  Wetlands provide several important functions and values, such as flood storage, wildlife habitat, mitigation of storm water and pollutants, filtration for drinking water, and prevention of storm damage to buildings and upland areas.  For more information on wetland resource areas and where they are located within your community please explore the websites referenced below.

Boston's Local Wetlands Ordinance

Massachusetts municipalities can enact local wetlands ordinances (LWO) that provide greater authority to protect more resource areas, protect existing resources to a greater degree, and consider how future conditions will affect resource areas. A carefully prepared LWO is a critical component of the plan to make Boston more resilient to projected changes in the climate. Join the Conservation Commission as we develop our LWO over the next few months.


Sea Level Rise & Climate Change

Report synthesizes scientific literature on global sea level rise and provides a set of scenarios on future global sea level rise. 
Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the US National Climate Assessment

Information provided by the Association of State Wetland Managers. 
Wetlands & Climate Change: An Introduction

Information, Regulations, Stormwater, Permitting Information and Forms

Provided by the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection: Wetlands

Education and Advocacy

Information, resources, and more. 
Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions


Provides general wetland resource area overlays. The MassGIS wetlands overlay does not provide definitive wetland delineations for purposes of Conservation Commission project review. 

Local Wetlands Ordinance