Greens Point boatyard, photo by Bill Congdon
Photo of Greens Point by Bill Congdon

Please leave comments at the end of this page about how we as individuals or as a town can work to protect the environment.


  • Ipswich Electric Department Fact Sheet: The Electric Light Department provides energy to the Town of Ipswich through three different methods: ownership of generation, long term contracts, and day-ahead purchases on the open market. Diversifying the energy portfolio in this manner reduces risk and provides stable and reasonable rates. Examining the ownership portion of the energy portfolio, it can be seen that Ipswich is 56% sourced by carbon-free generation. These assets include partial ownership shares in Berkshire Wind Farm, Ipswich Wind I, Seabrook Nuclear Power Station, Millstone Nuclear Power Station, and a series of hydro projects throughout New England. The remainder of the energy portfolio is comprised of long term contracts and open market purchases, both of which draw from the regional fuel mix.


  • Ipswich electric distributive generation policy: The Town of Ipswich Electric Light Department will enter into net metering agreements with customer-generators owning solar, wind, hydroelectric, or combined heat and power to generate electric power. Residential customers who install a solar PV system may also be eligible to receive a one-time rebate to help with the up-front cost of installation. Customers with systems installed after June 20, 2017 receive 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for their excess generation. “Behind the meter” generation should not exceed 90% of their average load. The cumulative limit for new net metered distributed generation is 500 kilowatts (DC). The purpose of this limit is to avoid an uncontrolled growth, which could jeopardize the integrity of the local electric system.


  • Curbside composting: The Ipswich Waste Reduction Advisory Committee, in conjunction with the Department of Public Works, encourages residents to participate in this curbside food waste collection.
  • Waste Reduction Advisory Committee: The mission and purpose of the Committee is to establish and administer the Town’s recycling plan, and develop programs to meet the overall waste reduction needs of the entire community.
  • Ipswich Freecycle: The Freecycle Network is a grassroots nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighborhoods. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers.

Town of Ipswich

  • Ipswich Conservation Office and Commission: Ipswich was the first town in the Commonwealth to establish a Conservation Commission, on March 3, 1958. The Ipswich Conservation Commission is a 7-member, volunteer board who’ve been appointed by the Town Manager (and approved by the Board of Selectmen) to protect and uphold the state and local wetland regulations, including protection of public and private water supplies, groundwater, flood control, storm damage, pollution, shellfish, wildlife habitat and fisheries.

Ipswich River

  • Ipswich River Watershed Association: The Ipswich River Watershed Association works in partnership with communities, businesses, schools, and other organizations and residents to protect the river, to protect nature and make sure that there is enough clean water for people, fish and wildlife, today and for our children and theirs.

Climate Change

  • Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020: The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 (GWSA) requires the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) to update its plan for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions once every five years. This 2015 update to the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020 addresses that requirement by describing policies that the Baker-Polito Administration will rely on to ensure that emission reductions required by the GWSA are achieved by 2020. Taken together, these policies provide a comprehensive strategy that addresses nearly all sources of GHG emissions in the Commonwealth.
  • 2011 Ipswich Climate Action Plan: The Climate Action Plan (Plan) for Ipswich, MA was prepared by the Commission on Energy Use and Climate Protection (Commission) to meet Ipswich’s commitment to the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) process, and will guide Ipswich through a transition over the next decade to a more sustainable energy future. Specifically, the Board of Selectmen unanimously adopted a GHG emissions reduction target of 10% below 1990 levels by 2020.
  • 2017 Ipswich Climate Action Plan Update: The Climate Change Committee (CCC) was appointed by the Town Moderator after approval of the Annual Town Meeting article in May 2016. The purpose and responsibilities of the CCC included reviewing progress that has been made in implementing the Ipswich Climate Action Plan (CAP), reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the municipal government sector, and identifying new recommendations that were not considered or available at the time the CAP was prepared in 2011.
  • Massachusett Climate Change Projections 2018: Researchers from the Northeast Climate Science Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst developed downscaled projections for changes in temperature, precipitation, and sea level rise for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, based on simulations from the latest generation of climate models from the International Panel on Climate Change and scenarios of future greenhouse gas emissions.
  • 2019 Ipswich Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Plan: In 2018, the Town of Ipswich applied for and was granted a MVP Planning grant which funded a full day Community Resilience Building (CRB) Workshop on February 5, 2019. The summary of findings from this CRB Workshop and a follow-up Listening Session, held for the public on March 27, 2019, are included within this report.
  • Argilla Road Adaptation Project: The Argilla Road project will protect vital road access with nature-based, green infrastructure approaches to help protect the road from increased flooding and climate change impacts.

The Great Marsh

  • The Great Marsh restoration project: Marshes serve as important habitats for sea life that support the local ecosystem and seafood economy and provide a natural flood barrier to protect neighboring communities. The project aims to fortify 300 acres along Old Town Hill and two other Trustees sites in Essex and Ipswich. Over time historic ditching processes have compromised the resilience of the marsh by destroying its natural draining process, leaving it increasingly vulnerable to floods. In order to ‘heal’ these ditches, the Trustees and partners will use an innovative, nature-based method of “ditch remediation”
  • 2017 Great Marsh Coastal Adaptation Plan: The Great Marsh has received numerous designations from federal, state, and non-profit entities recognizing it as “one of the most important coastal ecosystems in northeastern North America.” It has been designated a Critical Natural Landscape, Long Term Ecological Research Network site, Important Bird Area of Global Significance, Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site (1 of only 2 in New England), and an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.
  • Great Marsh Barriers Assessment: This report summarizes work conducted as part of the Great Marsh Barriers Assessment, component of a multifaceted project led by the National Wildlife Federation Northeastern Massachusetts Resiliency Project, funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program and included five separate sub-projects aimed to increase the resiliency of the Great Marsh and the Parker-Ipswich-Essex Rivers Restoration Partnership region.

On this site

Painting by Patricia Hanlon Swimming to the top of the tide - "When you swim a saltwater creek as the tide nears high, you have a visceral sense of what could happen if the tide just kept on rising."
Sally Weatherall - Sally's Pond on South Main St. is dedicated to the memory of Sally Weatherall, who volunteered many hours to her Town as a member of the Conservation Commission and helped achieve development of the Open Space Plan.
Postcard of the sand dunes at Ipswich Beach The missing dunes at Castle Neck - The "Great Dune" at the end of Castle Neck has disappeared, the point is retreating, and the opening to Essex Bay between Castle Neck and Wingaersheek Beach has widened.
Digging peat The Peat Meadows - Deep in Willowdale State Forest is a bog which in the 1832 Ipswich map is the "Peat Meadows." "Turf" as it was also called, became a commonly-used fuel when local forests were depleted and until anthracite coal became widely available.
North of Boston, Edge of a Warming World The edge of a warming world - William Sargent embarked on a series of rambles from New Hampshire to Gloucester, and discovered a troubling new environmental catastrophe from the buildup of chemicals that have been steadily accumulating in the lungs of the planet--our oceans.
Berkshire wind turbines on Brodie Mountain Wind power from the Berkshires lights Ipswich homes - The Town of Ipswich is an investor in Berkshire Wind, an array of wind turbines on Brodie Mountain in the Berkshires. Two turbines added this summer increased the generating capacity to 19.6 megawatts, enough for almost 9000 homes.
Grants for Great Marsh and Ipswich River | Ipswich Local News - The Trustees of Reservations was awarded $217,931 to pursue a salt marsh restoration and climate adaption project at the Old Town Hill reservation in Newbury. A smaller grant worth $28,000 was awarded to the Ipswich River Watershed Association (IRWA) to help it improve water quality in the river.
Ipswich Mills Dam Removal Feasibility Study Ipswich Mills Dam feasibility study - In 2010, the Ipswich Board of Selectmen voted to begin exploring removal of the Ipswich Mills Dam. The feasibility study was completed in March, 2019 and will set the stage for the Town's decision regarding the dam.
Ipswich MA Conservation Commission 1958 Ipswich Conservation Commission at its 60th anniversary - The Town of Ipswich established the state's first Conservation Commission in 1958. Commissions were given responsibility to administer the Wetlands Protection Act, and by the mid-1980s, every city and town in the Commonwealth had established a conservation commission. 
Projected sea level rise in Ipswich MA How will sea level rise affect Ipswich? - Sea levels rose about 8 inches globally and about 1 foot on the Eastern Seaboard in the past century. What will happen to Ipswich if  catastrophic predictions for the 21st Century are realized?
Greens Point boatyard, photo by Bill Congdon Environment - Ipswich environmental programs include the Recycling Program, Open Space Program, Conservation Commission, Electric Light Department, Climate Action Plan, Great Marsh Coastal Adaptation Plan, the Ipswich River Watershed Association and the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Plan.
Ipswich Scenic Byways Law - The Ipswich Scenic Byway Law ensures that trees and stone walls within the rights-of-way or layout of all designated scenic town roads will not be altered without public hearing, nor without following the other procedures set forth in the bylaw.

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