The town Conservation Commissions are in charge of wetlands protection regulation, which cover construction, septic and tree-cutting activities within a certain distance from the shoreline. If you are planning any kind of property improvement on or near the lake, contact your town’s conservation commission to check to see if you need a special permit, and for tips on mitigating the impacts of projects on water quality.
Conservation and lake management organizations
Friends of the Assabet National Wildlife Refuge
The Friends of the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge is a non-profit organization established to work with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the refuge’s valuable resources for future generations of wildlife and humans through stewardship and education.
The Friends host events featuring a variety of speakers on local ecology and history, plus regular tours, children’s programming, and stewardship projects. There are many opportunities to volunteer as well.
Congress of Lakes and Ponds (COLAP)
The purpose of the Massachusetts Congress of Lake and Pond Associations, Inc. is to preserve, protect, maintain and enhance the environmental, aesthetic, recreational and economic values of lakes and ponds, and to promote watershed management, within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
North American Lake Management Society (NALMS)
The North American Lake Management Society’s mission is to forge partnerships among citizens, scientists, and professionals to foster the management and protection of lakes and reservoirs for today and tomorrow.
OARS protects, preserves, and enhances the natural and recreational features of the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Rivers and watersheds, and increases public awareness of these important natural resources. OARS works to raise water quality to “fishable and swimmable” state standards by advocacy and data collection. Established in 1986 as the Organization for the Assabet River, the group added the Sudbury and Concord Rivers to its mission in 2011, becoming OARS. OARS’ three-pronged approach is to:
Middlesex Conservation District (MCD)
The Middlesex Conservation District was established in 1947 by a group of Middlesex County residents committed to providing a program of soil and water conservation. They host twice-a-year plant sales, which are good opportunities to buy bulbs in the fall, young perennial plants in the spring, and some gardening supplies while benefitting the organization.
UMass Soil Testing Laboratory
The Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory is located on the UMass-Amherst campus. Testing services are available to all. Their function is to provide test results and recommendations that lead to the wise and economical use of soils and soil amendments. If you have kids, grandkids or a garden this is the place to make sure you don’t have lead in your soil.
SUASCO Watershed Community Council
A community-based alliance that promotes the sustainable economic and environmental well-being of the Sudbury-Assabet-Concord River (SuAsCo) Watershed.
Federal and State Agencies
Mass Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
The umbrella organization for issues and policy related to recreation and conservation and environmental protection, as well as energy issues.
Other helpful sites
Mass Water Watch Partnership
For many years, the Massachusetts Water Watch Partnership (MassWWP) provided training and technical assistance to citizen water quality monitoring programs on the lakes, rivers, and estuaries of Massachusetts. Unfortunately, it is no longer funded. This site archives information on water quality testing and links to the Environmental Analytical Lab at UMass, which is able to do some water analyses for community groups.
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is a member-based group that offers boat insurance, publishes a magazine, lobbies on boating issues, and mediates disputes through a consumer protection board.