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Conservation Department Responsibilities
The Conservation Department, part of Planning and Community Development, is the primary point of contact for the public with questions related to jurisdiction under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and the Town of Needham Wetlands Protection Bylaw. The Department is also responsible for oversight and management of lands under the control of the Conservation Commission.

The Needham Conservation Commission is comprised of seven volunteer members appointed by the Board of Selectmen to staggered 3-year terms. The Commission is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act (MGL Ch. 131 S. 40) and the local Wetlands Protection Bylaw (Needham General Bylaws Section 6) (revised January 2013).

As part of their regulatory function, the Commission receives and reviews applications for projects involving work within 100 feet of resource areas (i.e. wetlands, streams, banks) or within 200 feet of perennial rivers and streams (the “Riverfront Area”).

Through the public hearing process, the Commission determines whether a project is permissible under the wetlands statutes, and issues or denies a permit accordingly. Please refer to our permitting page for additional information about Wetlands Protection statutes and procedures.

Additional Functions
In addition to their statutory obligations, the Conservation Commission undertakes broader environmental and land-management functions including:
  • Managing Town-owned Conservation Land including the over 360 acres of Ridge Hill Reservation
  • Promoting the protection of additional open space through conservation restrictions, land donations, and purchases.
  • Educating the public about the importance of protecting wetlands and other open space.
  • Advising and collaborating with other town boards and committees on matters pertaining to use, management and protection of the town's natural resources and open space.

For additional information regarding open space protection and land controlled by the Conservation Commission, please contact the Conservation Office at 781-455-7550 or email us at .
Matthew Varrell, PWS
Director of Conservation

Debbie Anderson
Conservation Specialist

Public Services Administration Building
500 Dedham Ave.
Needham, MA 02492

Ph: 781-455-7550, ext. 248
Fx: 781-453-2510

Monday - Friday
8:30 am - 5 pm

Drop in Hours - Newly Revised Drop-in Hours
9:30 am - 12 pm
or by appointment