Volunteers sought for town commissions

SOUTHWICK – The town is seeking a volunteer to fill the remainder of a term on the Southwick Conservation Commission.
The term ends June 30, 2014.
Conservation Coordinator Dennis Clark said the group meets the first and third Wednesday of every month and conducts a few site visits, as well.
The Commission is comprised of seven members who are appointed by the Board of Selectmen for a three-year term to oversee the requirements of the Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act, and other activities that potentially impact the environment.
Clark said there are no background requirements for the position, just a willingness to serve and learn.
“The credentials are not as important as an interest in nature and preservation,” said Clark.
Commissioners do need to know the Wetlands Protection Act and other laws pertaining to conservation, but the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissioners conducts regular training sessions available to all commissioners that are paid for by the local commission, not the individual.
“People can learn about wetland delineations and the laws,” said Clark.
The Southwick Conservation Commission’s mission is to serve as the conservation conscience of the town, providing leadership for natural resources planning. The Commission works to protect, and where possible enhance plant and wildlife habitat to maintain Southwick’s natural resources.
The Commission, together with the Mass DEP, reviews applications for work to be undertaken in or near a wetland. The Commission is entrusted with the application of the Wetland Protection Act, the Rivers Protection Act, CMR Wetlands Regulations, Storm Water Management Policy and Southwick Local Wetlands Bylaws.
There are two application types for work in a wetland area – a request for determination and a notice of intent.
Applicants for the Conservation Commission are asked to submit letters of interest to the Board of Selectmen by noon this Friday.
Clark said the Commission works hand-in-hand with the Open Space Committee, which also has an opening.
The Open Space Committee is comprised of a group on environmentally conscious members, appointed by the Board of Selectmen. Goals include; to manage and enhance Town open space, permanently protect enough open space to maintain a rural agrarian character, aquatic resources and environmental balance of Southwick.
The Committee meets the second and fourth Wednesday of each month in the second floor Land Use Meeting Room. The Committee may be contacted by calling at 413-569-6907.

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