What is a Conservation Commission ?
A conservation commission is a municipal advisory board that is created by a town, city or plantation through its legislative body (i.e. town meeting or municipal council). The commission has a few duties that are required by state law, but the most active ones do at least three things: they educate community members about local environmental issues; advise elected officials regarding environmental policies and practices; and organize and implement initiatives that address community environmental concerns.
Commissions build trails, work to control invasive species, develop open space plans, propose ordinances, work with school children, educate citizens about pesticide use, monitor development, protect their town’s special wild places, and generally work to keep Maine communities attractive places to live, work and raise our families. Commissions watchdog and maintain the natural resources of a community, working with town officials, planning boards and private organizations.
The conservation commission has been called “the environmental conscience of the community.” In many municipalities this may be the role that provides commission members with their greatest sense of accomplishment.
If your town already has a conservation commission, consider becoming a member (if you are not already). If it doesn’t, consider leading the charge to establish one in your community. MEACC can help; contact us for more information.