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Commonly Offered Workshops

**Note the list of workshops below is a only a compendium to exhibit MACC's educational workshop offerings in a typical year and not all listed are offered at this time.

We recommend checking our websites educational calendar periodically for coming educational offerings and programs. 

For what's currently scheduled click HERE

To view information about our Fundamentals for Conservation Commissioners Certificate Program click HERE

   Soils Workshops

Hydric Soils: Co-sponsored with New England Wild Flower Society

Description: This course for environmental professionals serves as an introduction or refresher on hydric soils, with a focus on understanding the current field indicators of hydric soils in the United States (USDA-NRCS), the basis for USACE soil descriptions. During the morning classroom session, we will review basic soil descriptors including color, texture, and soil development, specifically hydric characteristics, and redoximorphic features. In the afternoon field session, we will learn to apply these indicators to soils.

Bring available field equipment and a bag lunch; wear footwear appropriate for muddy conditions.

Hydric Soils: How to Know ‘Em When You See ‘Em

Description: This one-day workshop on hydric soils, which will be a great introductory class or refresher for consultants and regulators, including conservation commissioners and agents. A morning classroom session will be followed by an afternoon in the field getting your hands dirty and putting your new knowledge to work. Topics: soils of Massachusetts; geologic history and its influence on our soils; soil texture, color, describing soil profiles, and estimating depth to seasonal high water table. The afternoon field trip will involve working in teams to describe soil pits on a wetland – upland transects using MassDEP Methodology. Morning refreshments and lunch are included. Bring your own field equipment if you have it, such as an auger, spade, and a Munsell color book, and dress for the woods and wetlands.

Limit 24 Participants

Vegetation Workshops

Fern Identification and Ecology for Conservationists

Description: This introduction to ferns will be helpful and informative for anyone interested in fern identification. With an emphasis on ferns and hydrology it should be especially useful to conservation commissioners. Come explore the woodland trails at the Fruitlands Museum and learn to identify the most common ferns of our area. An indoor lab session will cover basic fern biology, identification techniques, and ecology, and the field session will provide simple and easy methods for positive field identification. We will also observe the changes in fern species composition along the hydrologic gradient, and review the status of designated species as wetland indicators. Please bring a hand lens if you have one.

Please bring a lunch and water bottle, and you’re encouraged to dress defensively (for mosquitoes and ticks).

Wetland and Other Shrubs

Description: Grassy Pond Conservation Land is a 96 acre sanctuary that includes Grassy Pond, associated wetlands, a small meadow, two small streams and a forest of oak, hickory, white pine and hemlock. Grassy Pond is a kettle hole pond formed during the retreat of the glaciers. It exhibits bog characteristics (very wet/highly acidic) around its perimeter, with leatherleaf, high-bush blueberry, red maple and tamarack moving in and shrinking the pond. There are two boardwalks to keep us high and dry - one going out into the pond and a second one running through the pond-shore bog. We’ll take a look at 16 - 20 shrubs as well as a couple of trees and a few non-woody plants that are often found in wetlands. We’ll also discuss some fun and interesting natural history about some of the plants we see. Please bring lunch, a favorite field guide and a hand lens if you have one.

Wetland Plant Identification: Co-sponsored with New England Wild Flower Society

Description: Some of the most productive ecosystems on earth are wetlands, but apart from their proximity to water, wetland habitats vary considerably. This is your chance to learn about the distinctive ecology and common indicator species of various wetland community types. Following a brief lecture, the class will visit a red maple swamp, a floodplain marsh, and a pond to observe ferns, sedges, and various aquatic species as well as shrubs and trees. Bring a hand lens (if you own one), lunch, and water; come prepared for wet feet.

Soil Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC) Training Program

Erosion and Sediment Control Problems and Solutions: What are the Options for Effective Prevention and Control?

  • Tired of seeing silt fence flapping in the breeze? What is a straw wattle used for? Ever wonder how to require or select appropriate erosion control devices for a site?
  • MACC will answer these questions and more in our workshops on Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC) especially for Conservation Commissioners and Inspectors.

This full day workshop is geared toward Conservation Commissioners and inspectors and will introduce you to effective methods of erosion prevention and sediment control, including different BMPs (Best Management Practices) and their applications.

  • A site visit to an active construction site will be included.
  • All participants will receive certificates for 6 Professional Development Units!
  • Dress for the weather.
  • Bug spray with DEET is recommended

Topics will include:

  • Soil erosion process: factors and impacts
  • ESC regulations and jurisdiction-relating ESC to the Regulations
  • Best Management Practices (BMPs)
  • Site Visit to view ESC applications
  • Wetland Delineation

Wetland Delineation Workshops

Wetland Delineation for Beginners

Description: This workshop is designed for Conservation Commissioners new to wetland delineation methodology. Participants will learn how to identify wetland resource areas using the DEP manual “Delineating Bordering Vegetated Wetlands under the MA Wetlands Protection Act”. Commissioners will gain a better understanding of how to identify a wetland resource area based on vegetation, soils and indicators of hydrology. DEP manual included

  • Attendees should bring a bag lunch
  • Coffee and refreshments will be served
  • Bring pencil/pen, tape measure and pocket calculator
  • Dress appropriate to the weather
  • Bring bug spray with DEET


Basic Wetland Delineation’s Soils and Vegetation

*Program presented in cooperation with the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program.

Instructor: John Rockwell 

Description: Having delivered his "Basic Wetland Delineation Workshop" to hundreds of Conservation Commissioners and wetland aficionados in Marion, Massachusetts over the past several years, John Rockwell, Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program Wetland Specialist, will now split his one-day workshop into two full-day workshops. Participants in both workshops will become more familiar with the state methodology of wetland delineation through practice sessions, case studies and a field session; they’ll be introduced to plant identification and be shown how to use the DEP manual, Delineating Bordering Vegetated Wetlands under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act.


Basic Wetland Delineation: Soils

Description: Focus is on hydric soils, indicators of wetland hydrology and understanding the DEP BVW Delineation Field Data form: Section II. Indicators of Hydrology

Limit 15 Participants

Basic Wetland Delineation: Vegetation

Description: Focus is on wetland vegetation and understanding the DEP BVW Delineation Field Data Form: Section I. Vegetation.

Limit 15 Participants

  • Lunch and the DEP manual are included in each session.
  • Bring pencil/pen and calculator
  • Field work in afternoon
  • Dress appropriate to weather
  • Bug Spray with DEET is recommended

Advanced Wetland Delineation Workshops

Instructor: John Rockwell

Description: These full – day workshops are designed for seasoned wetland delineators and will expand upon the information and techniques presented in John's two full–day Basic Delineation Workshops: Soils and Vegetation. Attendees will improve their understanding of the state delineation methodology and their ability to make those tough soils and vegetation determinations to practice sessions, case studies, and fieldwork.

*Prerequisites: registrants must have previously attended both of John's full-day basic delineation workshops (soils and vegetation), provide proof of the prior delineation training (college level) or be a practicing wetland professional.

  • Lunch and workshop materials are included in the fee
  • Bring pencil/pen and pocket calculator.
  • Optional: soils auger, "sharpshooter" (shovel with long, narrow snout) and Munsell Color Book.
  • Dress appropriately for weather
  • Bug Spray with DEET recommended


Advanced Wetland Delineation: Soils

Description: Topics to be covered include: the DEP soil criteria of the seven most common hydric soil characteristics and also the "soils that are difficult to analyze". Soils included in this list are found in the New ACOE "Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual: North central and Northeast Region (VERSION 2.0), as well as in the "Field Indicators for Identifying Hydric Soils in New England, Version 3". The day will primarily be spent in the field.

Advanced Wetland Delineation: Vegetation

Description: Topics to be covered include: the Dominance Test, Wetland Site Index, Relative Dominance by Layers method, and the Prevalence Index, all of which have been accepted at adjudicatory hearings. In the field participants will use a sample grid, basal area determinations and several other sampling methods that are more rigorous and more precise than the visual estimates in the DEP manual. Various vegetative tests will be used to see how the results differ when testing the same plot.

Basic Wetland Identification and Delineation: Co-sponsored with New England Wild Flower Society

Description: This two-day course introduces the principal elements of wetland identification: wetland hydrology, hydric soils, and hydrophytic plants. Together, we will identify plants in the field, place a delineation line, and utilize web resources for preparation. Recommended gear includes a field notebook, field guides, soil color charts, an auger, and rain gear. Bring a bag lunch. Some pre-class reading is required.

more Calendar

Unit 205 Effective Erosion and Sediment Control

Unit 206 - Stormwater Requirements for Wetlands Protection

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Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC)
10 Juniper Road, Belmont, MA 02478
Phone: (617) 489 - 3930
Fax: (617) 489 - 3935
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