Our primary responsibility is the implementation of the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, the Town’s Wetland Protection Bylaw, and the Massachusetts Riverfront Protection Act. The integrity of our wetlands and streams is essential to maintaining the water table, preventing flooding, and easing drought. In these times of climate change, wetlands directly help to mitigate both hot and cold temperature extremes, and also sequester substantial amounts of carbon.
Another responsibility of the Commission is the management of the Fiske Pond Conservation Area, with the help of the Fiske Pond Advisory Committee, chaired by Ruth Mazurka. Ongoing issues include monitoring the “beaver deceiver”, removing debris from the spillway and tree seedlings from the dams, having the fields mowed every other year, keeping the privy, trails, and birdhouses in order, and controlling invasive vegetation. More progress was made on the invasive issue during the summer. Thanks to a grant from the Bear Mountain Preservation Association, it was possible to hire a chainsaw operator to cut down numerous buckthorn trees, thus removing some of these particularly obnoxious invaders as seed sources. Progress was also made against Oriental bittersweet, winged euonymus, and Japanese barberry. Much remains, and will remain, to be done. The Highway Department has installed “No Parking” signs along West Street. An updated Management Plan is being formulated.
For the third year in a row, much of the Commission’s regulatory activity has followed from a Notice of Intent, D.E.P. file no. WE325-0041, received in 2015, and concerning a solar array at 107 Wendell Depot Road. Although the solar panels are already in operation, there have been a number of compliance matters that still to be resolved. On June 12, it was necessary to issue an Enforcement Order to ensure compliance with Orders of Conditions. The Commission will issue a Certificate of Compliance when all is finalized.
Other actions taken under the Wetlands Protection Act and/or the Wendell Wetlands Protection Bylaw:
* January 9. An Enforcement Order was issued regarding Lot 56(4) on Locke Hill Road.
* February 13. An Order of Conditions was issued for vegetation management in the Buffer Zone at the Wendell Free Library (WE-325-0043).
* April 10. A negative Determination of Applicability with conditions was issued concerning work on the McAvoy dam on Lockes Village Road.
* June 12. A previous Enforcement Order, with modified due dates, was resent regarding wetland issues at 131 Lockes Village Road. (The lawsuit “Andrew Hamilton v. Gretchen Smith et al.” has been dismissed by Superior Court.)
* August 14. An Order of Conditions was issued regarding construction of a pond at 191 Thompson Road, WE 325-0045.
* September 4. An Order of Conditions was issued regarding a proposed solar array on Lockes Village Road, the Doody property, WE 325-0044.
* September 18. An Order of Conditions was issued regarding a proposed solar array at 97 Wendell Depot Road, WE 325-0046.
* November 18. The Commission Chair issued an Emergency Permit to the Highway Department for culvert replacement on Jennison Road.
* December 11. The Commission issued an Order of Conditions concerning culvert replacement on Mormon Hollow Road, the Diemand property, WE 325-0047. It also issued an Order of Conditions regarding utility pole replacement along Farley Road, map 404, lot 75, WE 325-0048.
Another busy year. In view of the increasing size and number of proposed projects, the Commission voted to increase its FY budget request by $7000, in order to hire a part-time Conservation Agent.