Building Near Wetlands
Wetlands and Permitting:
Building near wetlands is often prohibited. “Wetlands ” usually refers to an area of land that is saturated with water either permanently or seasonally. What distinguished a wetland is the it’s aquatic plants and hydric soils.
Wetlands are important to people, fish and wildlife by protecting and improving water quality, providing fish and wildlife habitats, storing flood-waters, and maintaining surface water flow during dry periods.
I live in Massachusetts and any building of improvement to property near wet lands is governed by the Wetland Protection Act and Regulations and any work near wetlands requires due diligence to apply for and obtain a permit is issued by the Conservation Commission.
Any project within 100 feet of wetland or 200 feet of a perennial stream requires a wetland permit.
There are some exemptions for example, certain agricultural activities are exempt under the Building Code but may not be exempt from getting a wetland permit. Always make the inquiry. It is far easier to ask first than to stop work and fix it later. Examples of work or activities that require permits are, including but not limited to:
- Land clearing
- Additions and Garages
- Parking lots, roads and subdivisions
- Cutting and clearing vegetation
- Installing a lawn
- Retaining walls
- Wells (irrigation, point, drinking water)
- Septic systems
- Pool, deck or shed
Steps involved for building near wetlands involve reviewing all of the information relating to your property documents and then contact the Conservation Commission. The Conservation Commission has aerial photographs, soil maps, previous permits and other resources to help you determine if wetlands are on your property.