The Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act (WPA) was enacted in 1957 to protect wetlands of the Commonwealth. It allowed each town to create a Conservation Commission to administer this state law at the local level. Ipswich was the first town in the Commonwealth to establish a Conservation Commission, on March 3, 1958. The Ipswich Conservation Commission is an 7-member, volunteer board who’ve been appointed to protect and uphold the state and local wetland regulations. In 2018 we will be celebrating 60 years of protecting wetlands and wildlife in Ipswich. Specifically, the WPA empowers the Conservation Commission to determine if a project will adversely impact the following eight interests:
Protection of Public and Private Water Supply
Protection of Groundwater Supply
Providing Flood Control
Prevention of Storm Damage
Prevention of Pollution
Protection of Land Containing Shellfish
Protection of Wildlife Habitat
Protection of Fisheries.
The Ipswich Wetlands Protection Bylaw was established in 1990 by the voters of the town to further protect the wetlands, thus protecting the quality of life in Ipswich. The Bylaw adds Erosion and Sedimentation Control to the above interests. The Bylaw was last updated in 2016. Associated Rules and Regulations were approved by the Commission in 1992, and were most recently revised in 2017. A link to the Bylaw, as well as the associated Rules and Regulations, and Commission Policies can be found here here.
The Commission is supported by one full-time staff person, Conservation Agent Alicia Geilen; and two part-time staff persons: Conservation Field Inspector, Bill Decie; and Conservation & Planning Assistant, Gail Surpitski. Contact information for Conservation Staff is available on the Conservation Department's webpage.