MassDEP's Wetlands Circuit Rider Program

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

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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 three 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 Professional Wetlands Scientist (PWS) and can respond to overall Circuit Rider inquiries and questions when the regional circuit rider is unavailable. Contact Nancy at: (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 (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, 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 Wetlands technical questions for the Southeast Region can also be directed to their Help Line: 508-946-2800.

Western Regional Office: two wetlands program staff will share the Circuit Rider duties:

Tom Gruszkos will serve the towns that are alphabetically listed from A (Adams) through L (Ludlow). He is returning to the WERO Wetlands Program. Tom is a Western Mass native and served as an intern in the WERO Wetlands Program while a student at UMass. Tom joined MassDEP’s Wetlands Program in 2016 and has quickly moved up through the Wetlands Program due to his regulatory, technical, field, and stakeholder/interagency consultation skills. Tom’s work included technical reviews and site inspection for complex wetlands Variances, statewide linear infrastructure performance standards work, and serving as the Wetlands Program’s Compliance and Enforcement liaison. Most recently Tom has worked in the 401 Water Quality Certification Unit on dredge certifications and coordinating MassDEP’s 401WQC efforts for hydroelectric facilities seeking FERC Relicensing. Tom can be reached directly at or 413-755-2260.

Mary Grover will respond to inquiries for towns that are alphabetically listed from M (Middlefield) through W (Worthington). Mary joined MassDEP from a wetlands consultant position at Tighe & Bond where she prepared permit applications, performed fieldwork, and represented clients at public meetings in connection with wetlands and waterways permits. Mary has also served as a member of the South Hadley Conservation Commission. Prior to joining Tighe & Bond, Mary was involved in a number of projects as a graduate assistant at Villanova where she earned her master’s degree in Environmental Science. Mary holds a BS in Environmental Science from UConn with a concentration in Natural Resources and a minor in Geology. Mary can be reached directly at or 413-755-2154.




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