Conservation Partnerships


Wetlands are protected for public interests that are provided by these natural resources. When a permit is in front of the Conservation Commission (7 member board appointed by the Board of Selectmen), the members consider these interests as shown below:

  • Protection of public and private water supply
  • Protection of groundwater supply
  • Flood control
  • Prevention of storm damage
  • Prevention of pollution
  • Protection of land containing shellfish
  • Protection of fisheries
  • Protection of wildlife habitat

Are there Wetland resource areas on my property?

Enter your address in the search bar below to see what wetland resource areas and conservation jurisdiction may be on your property. If you plan to do any work on your property (addition, pool, tree cutting, etc.), you may need a permit from the Conservation Commission first. Contact us at 508-532-5460 or

Wetland Laws and Regulations

Streams & Rivers

  • The major perennial, or year-round, streams include (but are not limited to):
    • The Sudbury River
    • Beaverdam and Course Brooks in southeast Framingham
    • Baiting Brook and its tributaries in the western part of the City
    • Hop Brook, which flows through the north end of the city into Sudbury
    • Cochituate Brook, which connects Lake Cochituate to the Sudbury River
    • Willow and Cowassock Brooks, that flow from the southwest into the reservoirs on the Sudbury River
  • Numerous smaller intermittent streams feed into these brooks or other wetlands around the City.

Riverfront Area

This includes all land within 200 feet of the bank of any perennial stream. There are specific performance standards for work within the Riverfront Area. The Riverfront Area does not have a Buffer Zone around it.

Lakes & Ponds

Framingham has numerous ponds, including 5 state-designated Great Ponds:

  • Farm Pond
  • Learned Pond
  • Gleason Pond
  • Waushakum Pond
  • Lake Cochituate

And smaller ponds like Norton Pond, Mohawk Pond, Sucker Pond, and other unnamed ponds.

Banks & Beaches

A bank or beach is the place where water meets land for any water body, whether it be a pond, lake, stream, or river. (Note: a bank is sometimes different from the edge of the water, especially if the water rises and falls frequently due to seasonal or other variations.

Banks provide critical habitat for such native animals as minks and river otters.

The 100-Year Floodplain

The 100-year floodplain is the area affected when water rises after a storm of a magnitude that occurs, on average, only once every hundred years. The 100-year Floodplain does not flood only once every 100 years.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) publishes official maps that show where these floodplains are. These maps are available at the Conservation Office.

The floodplain does not have a buffer zone around it.

Isolated Land Subject to Flooding

Isolated land subject to flooding is any land that holds about 11,000 cubic feet of water at least once a year, or an average of 6 inches of water over 22,000 square feet (a little more than half an acre).

Isolated land subject to flooding does not have a buffer zone around it.

Bordering Vegetated Wetlands

Bordering Vegetated Wetlands include any marsh, swamp, wet meadow, or bog that borders on a stream or pond. Each kind of wetland has different characteristics:

  • Swamps
    • Most swamps in the City are wooded deciduous swamps that have mostly red (or swamp) maples and other water-hardy trees
    • Wooded coniferous swamps
    • Shrub swamps
  • Marshes (deep and shallow)
  • Wet Meadows
  • Bogs
    • Acidic, nutrient-poor wetlands that develop peat
    • Framingham has only 2 bogs

Vernal Pools

Vernal Pools are temporary bodies of fresh water that provide critical habitat for many vertebrate and invertebrate wildlife species. Vernal pools do not support fish (usually because they dry out annually or periodically). Some may contain water year round, but are free of fish.

Vernal pools provide unique habitat for a variety of forest and wetland organisms, some of which depend on this pool habitat for their survival. “Obligate” vernal pool species, such as the wood frog (Rana sylvatica), mole salamanders (Ambystoma sp.), and fairy shrimp (Order Anostraca) will only breed in vernal pools and therefore are dependent on this critical habitat. “Facultative” species, such as certain amphibians and reptiles along with several kinds of aquatic invertebrates often exploit the fish-free waters of vernal pools but do not depend on them.