Resources: Grass- Roots Conservation

It would be worth the while if in each town there were a committee appointed to see that the beauty of the town received no detriment.

—Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau's vision is alive and well in seven Northeastern states, where 581 municipalities have started "conservation commissions" that are fast becoming the most effective new arm of local government. Each commission has five to nine members, usually plain citizens appointed by the town. Charged with managing local natural resources, they try to accommodate competing needs, such as developing industry and saving wetlands. At a time of rapid, sloppy urbanization, the new...

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