Tree Removal Near Wetlands

The Lincoln Conservation Commission (LCC) has created a Tree Removal Policy to expedite the process of allowing homeowners to remove certain unsafe trees in a Wetland Resource Area or Buffer Zones.  

Landowners must obtain prior permission from the Commission before work of any kind (e.g., tree or brush removal, lawn expansion, ground disturbance, and construction) is conducted in the following areas, over which the Commission has jurisdiction:

  1. Wetland Resource Areas, defined as 100-year flood zones, wetlands, streams, and ponds.
  2. Riverfront Areas - Land within 200 feet of a perennial stream.
  3. Buffer Zones - Land within 100 feet of a Wetland Resource Area. 

Wetland Resource Areas and Riverfront Areas may sometimes appear to be dry and thus difficult to identify, so all landowners are encouraged to contact the Conservation Office at 781-259-2612 to discuss any proposed work. 

Tree Removal Application

If you wish to remove trees from Jurisdictional Areas (even if the area is landscaped), you are required to file a “Tree Removal Application Form”. On the form, you will need to specify the trees’ size, type, and condition. You will also need to inform the Commission of the reasons for removing the trees and how you will do so, including the equipment you plan to use. Please note, tree removal is permitted through this policy only if the tree(s) poses a safety threat.


Trees in Jurisdictional Areas perform ecological functions by providing habitat for wildlife, reducing flood elevations, stabilizing soil, assisting nutrient uptake that improves water quality, and providing shade that contributes to healthy vegetation and cool water. Even dead trees provide habitat for cavity-nesters and organic nutrients for soil. 

Because trees play a vital ecological role in our forests and our yards, the Commission requires that landowners replace any trees removed as part of this policy. The loss of trees cut in Jurisdictional Areas shall be mitigated as follows:

  • For every large tree cut (more than 12 inches in diameter), a landowner must plant one native tree sapling or two native shrubs.
  • For every small tree (under 12 inches), landowners are required to plant one native sapling or one native shrub.  

More information on tree replacement can be found in the Commission’s “Tree/Shrub Replacement Guide” below.

Application and Approval Process

Landowners should carefully review the following Tree Removal Policy and the Tree/Shrub Replacement Guide before submitting the Tree Removal Application to the Conservation office. The review and approval process is outlined in the policy:

Many tree removal requests may be approved administratively by the Conservation Department Staff if no lawn expansion will result from the removal.  Staff may approve the removal of up to five trees in jurisdictional areas. All other tree and vegetation removal requests are subject to formal review, which is described on the Commission’s website. 

Working together, we can make sure that future generations will benefit from the care we took to preserve Lincoln’s trees and our wildlife habitat.  Please contact the Conservation Department at 781-259-2612 or and staff can assist you with this process.