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Wetlands are an important feature in the protection of water resources in Massachusetts. They can help clean drinking water supplies. Wetlands prevent flooding and storm damage during storm events. And wetlands also support a huge variety of wildlife!
Revisions to Massachusetts' Wetlands, Waterways, and Water Quality Certification regulations to streamline permitting procedures while maintaining environmental protection. Revised October 2014.
Explains the revisions to the Wetlands Protection Act Regulations (310 CMR 10.00) promulgated in October 2014, including new project types and eligibility requirements. November 2014.
The Ecological Restoration Permitting Flowchart visually depicts how to distinguish between the two wetlands regulatory permitting options for ecological restoration projects - the General Permit or Limited Project.
A summary of the steps MassDEP and local Conservation Commissions have taken to preserve and restore wetlands.
Information about the 2010 Permit Extension Act, which established an automatic four-year extension to certain permits and licenses relative to the use or development of real property during the qualifying period of August 15, 2008 through August 15, 2012.
All about Eastern Equine Encephalitis and aerial spraying of pesticides to control mosquitos that carry the disease.
What are wetlands, and how MassDEP works to protect them from pollution and loss - an overview of the Wetlands Program and how it works with communities and other interests.
What wetlands are, their importance to the environment and economy, and what we can all do together to preserve and protect them.
Circuit riders provide technical, administrative, and regulatory assistance to conservation commissions, municipal boards, and consultants, in implementing the provisions of the Wetlands Protection Act.
Wetlands- and Waterways-related presentations and other materials from workshops, conferences, and meetings.
Answers to frequently asked questions about the Massachusetts Rivers Protection Act of 1996.
Report of a 1998 study on wetland replication in 44 Massachusetts towns.
These maps show where each community's vulnerable wetlands are located relative to developed sites, so that they can better determine and plan the appropriate placement for, and type of, stormwater-control options to better protect these resources and reduce phosphorus loading to the Charles River.
Final wetland monitoring and assessment reports, including field and assessment data
This list contains some of the research that has been conducted by MassDEP, UMass-Amherst and the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management to develop a Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment Strategy for Massachusetts.
Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs) ensure the reliability and scientific accuracy of data collected during environmental monitoring field work.
This listing includes final wetland monitoring and assessment reports, including field and assessment data.
Photos from salt marsh sampling on the North Shore in August 2009.
These forms will help you apply for permits for wetlands projects.
The Wetlands Information Resource (WIRE) will allow MassDEP to more easily track permitted impacts, determine responsibility for wetland loss, pursue enforcement, and monitor compliance & mitigation success.
A secure site for submitting environmental permits, transmittals, certifications, and reports electronically to MassDEP.
Defines a "densely developed area" under the Rivers Protection Act to protect wetlands in Massachusetts.
Procedures for issuing licenses and permits under the Wetlands Protection Act.
Procedures for issuing activity-restriction orders in coastal wetlands areas.
Procedures for issuing activity-restriction orders in inland wetlands areas.
Establishes a permit process and performance standards for the renovation of eligible abandoned cranberry bogs.
310 CMR 1.00 governs the conduct of adjudicatory appeals and adjudicatory hearings of the Department of Environmental Protection under M.G.L. c. 30A.
Governs the fees set for MassDEP-issued permits and approvals, and the timelines for review of submitted permit applications.
Ensuring that dredging operations and material comply with the requirements of the Massachusetts Surface Water Quality Standards and the federal Clean Water Act.
As part of the Commonwealth's climate-change resiliency effort, MassDEP is evaluating the most recent precipitation-frequency statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with the goal of updating the Wetlands regulations (310 CMR 10.00) to accommodate the use of newer data in the wetlands permitting process. These statistics apply to stormwater peak runoff rates, calculation of 10-year floodplains, and isolated lands subject to flooding. In the interim, existing values from the US Weather Bureau Technical Paper 40 (TP40) should continue to be used. November 2015.
Guidance for the review of projects proposed to control aquatic-vegetation growth, under provisions of the Wetlands Protection Act.
Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act's (MEPA) guidance for the development and review of airport vegetation removal projects in wetlands to comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
Guidance for homeowners and local officials on authorizing emergency work in the event of a sudden or unforeseen emergency.
Guidance for beach-nourishment projects to maintain habitat, stability, and ecological health.
Guidance for conservation commissions to manage flooding problems caused by beaver and muskrat activities.
Creating and maintaining vegetated buffers along waterbodies to control pollution, protect habitat and water quality, and benefit the property owner.
This guidance document was developed by the Office of Coastal Zone Management and MassDEP to help Conservation Commissions evaluate projects proposed in coastal resource areas for their potential to impact the storm damage prevention and flood control interests of the Wetlands Protection Act. It gives Commissions tools, data, and information to delineate the coastal resource areas, determine resource area functions, assess potential project impacts, and evaluate whether the project meets, or can be conditioned to meet, the performance standards. The manual also includes a separate attachment, Data Checklists for Delineation of Resource Areas, which can be printed and carried out to the field to record information about landform features and characteristics. August 2017.
Guidance for dam-removal projects to benefit the ecological health of the waterway.
A detailed manual for determining boundaries of vegetated wetlands bordering waterbodies, including hydrological and botanical indicators, and a guide to delineating BVWs in the field. If you need a separate copy of the "Bordering Vegetated Wetland Delineation Field Data Form," incorporated into the appendices of this document, see "Permits and Forms" on the Wetlands Protection page.
These revisions establish requirements for structures in areas particularly vulnerable to damage from coastal storms.
Best management practices for controlling erosion and sedimentation.
Lake management techniques for control of nutrients and aquatic-plant growth effectiveness and ecological impacts, and additional resources for identifying invasive species and other aquatic-nuisance issues.
Assisting conservation commissions and other municipal officials in protecting wetland resources through effective enforcement of the Wetlands Protection Act.
Provisions of the Wetlands Protection Act Regulations that cover exempt and regulated agricultural activities, the permitting process for regulated activities, and resources for farmers, regulators, and the general public.
This manual is intended to assist conservation commissions in evaluating the hydrologic impacts of proposed activities on wetland function and statutory interests.
Increasing the effectiveness of wetland replication to meet performance standards for mitigation projects.
Guidance to identify important wildlife habitat in wetlands and ways to protect it while evaluating proposed projects in wetlands. The included Simplified and Detailed Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Forms are also available separately under "Permits and Forms" on the Wetlands Protection page.
Criteria for maintaining river and stream continuity, to enable environmentally-critical movement of fish and wildlife through river and stream corridors. March 2012.
Precipitation data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Guidance to determine if mosquito control work (e.g. application of pesticides) is exempt or requires an Emergency Certification under the Wetlands Protection Act, and whether application of pesticides to a public water source for mosquito control can go forward.
Addendum B of the NPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Small MS4s contains guidance for meeting the requirement of historic property protection. MassDEP has summarized Addendum B but recommends that applicants read the entire permit and appendices.
Definitions of key terms in NPDES permitting, including "urbanized area," "municipal separate storm sewer," "storm water," and more, taken from the Code of Federal Regulations and originally published in the Federal Register in November 1990.
MassDEP guidelines for government agencies and private businesses to use in selecting, preparing and maintaining snow disposal sites.
This document is intended to provide a uniform method for demonstrating stormwater technologies and developing quality-assurance plans for certification or verification of performance claims.
Revised and updated in February 2008 in accordance with revisions to the Wetlands regulations, 310 CMR 10.00, and the Water Quality Regulations, 314 CMR 9.00, relating to stormwater.
This is a notice that MassDEP is standardizing the computational method used to size proprietary manufactured stormwater treatment devices as part of the Wetlands Protection Program’s ongoing efforts to reduce stormwater pollution.
Standardized method to convert stormwater Water Quality Volume to Peak Flow Rate.
A detailed explanation of the revisions made in 2008 to the Massachusetts Stormwater Management Standards, reflecting technological and scientific advancements since the Standards were first issued in 1996.
This guidance is intended to explain the types of water management planning reports towns and communities can use when approaching their particular wastewater, drinking water and stormwater issues.
A stormwater general permit is both a permit and a handbook for compliance. Each general permit has a preamble (or fact sheet) that summarizes the factual, legal, methodological, and policy questions considered in drafting the permit. The information in the fact sheet often helps the reader better understand the intent of the provisions in the permit.
Information on debris management, emergency repairs to structures located in wetlands, guidance on responding to spills of oil or hazardous materials, and tools for water utilities.
Process for reviewing solar-array projects that may impact wetland areas.
Definition and interpretation of the Wetlands Protection Act category "Land Subject to Flooding."
Policy on amended Orders of Conditions.
Protecting the interests of the Wetlands Protection Act within the requirements of Title 5 or more stringent local Board of Health requirements.
Policy for expedited review of license, approval, or permit applications.
Determining whether a new roadway qualifies for consideration as a limited project under the Wetlands Protection Act.
Policy for addressing projects for which multiple Notices of Intent have been filed.
Determining adverse impacts to rare species habitat under the rules set forth in the Wetlands Protection Regulations.
This policy specifically distinguishes project plan changes which are substantial, and will require a new NOI filing, from those plan changes which are deemed insubstantial and thus may be considered as part of the appeal review process.
Clarifying the Department's position on when salt pond openings to the ocean may be allowed in accordance with the Wetlands Protection Act, and providing guidance to the issuing authority with a process for the evaluation of a pond-opening proposal. This policy is intended to allow the Department to gather information and further evaluate the effects of pond openings.
The purpose of this policy is to clarify the definition of coastal bank contained in the Wetlands Regulations, 310 CMR 10.00, by providing guidance for identifying 'top of coastal bank'. Regulatory Standards Coastal wetlands are defined in the Wetlands Protection Act (MGL c. 131, s.40).
This policy defines which plant species or other plants are wetland indicator plants as specified in the wetland regulations (310 CMR 10.55(2)(c)). This policy also identifies a standard methodology for determining the boundary of Bordering Vegetated Wetlands (BVWs) in accordance with 310 CMR 10.55(2)(c)(1-3).
Procedures for coordinated review under the Endangered Species and Wetlands Protection Regulations for state-listed wildlife in wetlands.
Reviewing requests for Superseding Orders of Conditions when a conservation commission denies an Order of Conditions (OOC), a Request for Determination of Applicability, or a Notice of Resource Area Delineation due to a lack of necessary information pursuant to 310 CMR 10.05(6).
Through the Office of Geographic Information (MassGIS), the Commonwealth has created a comprehensive, statewide database of spatial information for mapping and analysis supporting emergency response, environmental planning and management, transportation planning, economic development, and transparency in state government operations.
Cities and towns that currently have registered wetlands with accompanying restriction orders under either the Coastal Wetlands Restriction Act (c.130, s.105) or the Inland Wetlands Restriction Act (c.131, s.40A).
List of possible municipal uses for Wetlands Orthophotoquad Maps.
These maps are intended to help prioritize land for conservation based on the assessment of ecological communities. The maps represent a percentage of the landscape with the highest wildlife-habitat value. Activities in these areas that are subject to the Wetlands Protection regulations should conduct a detailed wildlife habitat evaluation.
The current MassDEP Eelgrass layer is being updated. A paper has been published explaining the methodology of the updates.
This Q&A describes Wetlands Loss Maps. In order to protect this valuable land, MassDEP began compiling aerial photographs of the state to track the alteration and loss of wetlands. By comparing the photos, MassDEP can more effectively enforce the Wetlands Protection Act to restore already damaged areas and devise better strategies to prevent the destruction of these valuable resource areas.
Massachusetts Mouth of Coastal River Maps: These maps identify the Mouth Of The River (MOR) for coastal rivers in order to provide a clear, consistent, and predictable means of locating all river mouths in the Commonwealth.