Building Near Wetlands

By Robert Robillard on Landscape

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:

  • Construction
  • Land clearing
  • Buildings
  • 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.

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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