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Last updated: 5/19/17

Protecting Boston’s Wetlands

The Conservation Commission protects open space and natural areas in Boston, with a special emphasis on the City’s wetlands. It reviews projects in or near wetlands and owns a number of natural, open-space properties known as Urban Wilds.

Wetlands are vital to the City's natural environment, providing habitat for fish, shellfish and wildlife. Wetlands also maintain groundwater and water quality, and mitigate the impacts of flooding, storm damage and pollution.

In protecting Boston’s wetlands, the Conservation Commission administers the Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act, the Massachusetts Rivers Protection Act, and the Conservation Commission Act. The Commission also seeks public access to wetland resource areas where appropriate.

Anything that falls within a flood plain can affect wetland health, which is why the Conservation Commission reviews projects that fall within them. A flood plain is the area of land inundated during floods.

The Conservation Commission also works to foster a connection between the people of Boston and the City’s natural areas. It does this through environmental education and maintaining a number of natural, open-space properties known as Urban Wilds, which are open to the public.