February 26, 2010

Dear Registers,

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has recently undertaken a review of Wetland Program forms to improve program efficiencies.

As part of this effort, the Department reviewed the need for the notary stamp, or Acknowledgement, on forms associated with the Wetlands Protection Act. As you may know, wetland forms such as the Order of Conditions and the Certificate of Compliance have historically required an Acknowledgement prior to recording. The Department reviewed the legal requirements of the Wetland Program in consultation with the Department's Office of General Counsel, and also reviewed the Massachusetts Deed Indexing Standards (January 2008) and associated provisions of Appendix A: Documents Requiring Acknowledgement. As part of this review, the Department found no statutory or regulatory requirements for the inclusion of Acknowledgements on wetland forms prior to recording.

In order to effectuate this policy change, the Department has amended its on-line (Word/PDF) and eDEP electronic forms, to no longer contain a "notary block" for the Acknowledgement. See here . In the event that some of the Wetland Program forms are presented to your Registry for recording with the former "notary block", the Department requests that your Registry either accept the form without the formal Acknowledgement or refer the stakeholder to the MassDEP web site for the recently revised form that no longer contains the requirement for an Acknowledgement.

This form amendment represents a substantial improvement in the Commonwealth's permit review process and has been well received by conservation commissions across the state. The assistance of your registry staff in accepting these new forms will be greatly appreciated. If you have any further questions regarding this matter, please feel free to call me at 617-292-5526.

Respectfully,

/signed/

Michael J. Stroman
Wetland Program Chief