MassDEP's Wetlands Circuit Rider Program

Wetlands circuit riders help consultants and municipal officials meet the requirements of the Wetlands Protection Act.

Table of Contents

Overview

Established by the Wetlands and Waterways Division, Circuit Riders promote fair, consistent and environmentally sound wetland permitting by the 351 local conservation commissions in the state. Circuit Riders accomplish these goals by offering technical, administrative, and regulatory assistance on numerous wetland topics to hundreds of commissions, municipal boards, and consultants each year. In 2011 the Division and its Circuit Riders were honored with the prestigious Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commission’s Environmental Service Award for the exemplary work that they do.

Commissions should look here for upcoming training opportunities. Any other questions should be directed to your regional Circuit Rider or Nancy Lin (see below).

Get to Know your Regional Circuit Rider

Nancy Lin manages and directs the Wetland Circuit Rider Program and created the Program in 1995. Since 1988 Nancy has overseen the technical assistance, outreach and education for MassDEP's Division of Wetlands and Waterways, including grant writing and management. Nancy also writes/reviews technical and regulatory guidance, policies and procedures for the Division’s two programs. Prior to MassDEP, Nancy worked at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority; was the Director of the City of Cambridge's Conservation Commission; managed staff training for the New York City (NYC) Park Ranger program; and served as a naturalist/instructor at a National Environmental Education Landmark in NYC. Nancy is a certified Senior Professional Wetlands Scientist (SPWS) and can respond to overall Circuit Rider inquiries and questions when the regional circuit rider is unavailable. Contact Nancy at: nancy.lin@mass.gov (preferable) or by cell at 617-686-0615.

Alicia Geilen is the Wetlands Circuit Rider for the Northeast Regional Office. Alicia has over 20 years’ experience in the wetlands field. Before joining MassDEP in March 2020, she served as the Conservation Agent for Ipswich and Topsfield, as an environmental consultant representing both public and private clients, and as an environmental planner at the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments. She has extensive experience with both inland and coastal resource areas, has coordinated multi-agency permitting for coastal resilience projects, and provided guidance on agriculture activities in/near wetlands. Alicia earned a Master’s Degree in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University, where she published her thesis on permitting issues related to shellfish aquaculture. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Kansas, with a focus on water resources. She can be contacted at alicia.geilen@mass.gov (preferred) or by cell at 617-519-7389. You can also leave a message on the NERO Wetlands Help Line at 978-694-3405, and a staff person will return your call.

Mia McDonald is the Wetlands Circuit Rider for the Central Regional Office. Mia comes to MassDEP from her position as the Agent for the Towns of Northborough and Paxton. She also served on the Worcester Conservation Commission for approximately nine years. Mia graduated from WPI with a degree in environmental science which focused on environmental engineering and planning. She spent over a decade of her career in the private sector working on design, permitting and construction of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. She can be contacted at mia.mcdonald@mass.gov, her office line at 508-767-2846, or cell at 857-303-2114.

Andrew Poyant is the Circuit Rider for the Southeast Regional Office. Prior to joining MassDEP, Andrew was a Town Planner and Conservation Agent for the Town of Rehoboth. Andrew also worked for ten years as an Environmental Scientist for the consulting firm of CDM Smith, with extensive experience in the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, 401 Water Quality Certification, Chapter 91 Waterways, Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act, Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management Act, Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. He has broad field experience in wetland delineation, wetland functions and values assessments, vernal pool monitoring, and wildlife habitat assessments, construction monitoring of wetland restoration and replication, erosion and sedimentation control inspections, stormwater management and post construction wetland monitoring. Andrew holds a BS in Biology from UMass Dartmouth and a MS in Plant and Soil Science from UMass Amherst. He is a certified Professional Wetlands Scientist (PWS) from the Society of Wetlands Scientists and a Certified Wetland Scientist (CWS) for the State of New Hampshire. Reach Andrew at 508-946-2845 or andrew.poyant@mass.gov. Wetlands technical questions for the Southeast Region can also be directed to their Help Line: 508-946-2800.

Mark Stinson is the Circuit Rider for the Western Regional Office. Mark holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and has also taken Masters-level courses in Forestry Management at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He has over 13 years of experience at the conservation commission level as a commissioner, chair and agent for a Western Massachusetts community. Mark can be reached at mark.stinson@mass.gov or by cell at 413-961-9583.

Contact for MassDEP's Wetlands Circuit Rider Program

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