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Guide Wetlands Information

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!

Table of Contents

Education & Outreach


  • Permitting Ecological Restoration Projects under the Wetlands Protection Act

    MassDEP revised the wetlands regulations to encourage wetland restorations to support ecological connectedness and resilience, adaptation to sea level rise, and flood and storm damage protection for private property and public infrastructure. The regulatory process and procedures are explained in this video. 
  • The Wetlands Stream Crossing Standards

    The Massachusetts Stream Crossing Standards were incorporated into the wetlands regulations to support resilience to stream crossing infrastructure and to help maintain ecosystem integrity for fish and wildlife passage and to promote stream continuity. This video explains the standards for wetland resources that can also help to mitigate riverine flooding due to larger and more frequent storms. 
  • Stream Crossing Catastrophe

    This video illustrates how an undersized stream crossing can damage roadways that potentially affect public safety and local economies where the crossing serves as a major thoroughfare.
  • Vulnerable Wetlands:
    MassDEP received Wetland Program Development grants from the U.S. EPA to create YouTube videos and training for MS4 communities on how to develop and use GIS maps as stormwater management planning tools. 

    Vulnerable Wetlands Part 1: What they are and why they are important

    Vulnerable Wetlands Part 2: Stormwater and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)

    Vulnerable Wetlands Part 3: Headwater streams and vernal pool clusters 

    Vulnerable Wetlands Part 4: GIS maps - vulnerable wetlands index and subwatershed of interest

    Vulnerable Wetlands Part 5: GIS Maps - subwatershed of interest series

    Vulnerable Wetlands Part 6: 10 rules of thumb to protect and restore vulnerable wetlands

Wetlands Monitoring & Assessment

Final wetland monitoring and assessment reports, including field and assessment data

Wetlands Permitting & Forms

These forms will help you apply for permits for wetlands projects.

Key Actions for Wetlands Permitting & Forms

Additional Resources for Wetlands Permitting & Forms

Online Filing

  • Online Wetland Permitting

    Electronic filing allows MassDEP to more easily track permitted impacts, determine responsibility for wetland loss, pursue enforcement, and monitor compliance & mitigation success.

  • eDEP Online Filing

    A secure site for submitting environmental permits, transmittals, certifications, and reports electronically to MassDEP.

Wetlands Regulations

Wetlands Guidance

  • 2020 Drought Declaration

    This declaration affects the implementation of the Wetlands Protection Act Regulations for Riverfront Area and Pond observations for the time period explained in this wetlands guidance.

Stormwater Policies & Guidance for Wetlands

Stream Crossings


Emergency Information

Wetlands Policies

Wetlands Mapping

  • Office of Geographic Information (MassGIS)

    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.

  • Communities with Previously Registered Wetlands

    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).

  • Wetlands Program - Orthophotoquad Map Use & Distribution

    List of possible municipal uses for Wetlands Orthophotoquad Maps.

  • Massachusetts Ecological Integrity Maps and MassDEP Maps Depicting Habitat of Potential Regional or Statewide Importance

    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.

  • Eelgrass Mapping Project

    The current MassDEP Eelgrass layer is being updated. A paper has been published explaining the methodology of the updates.

  • Wetlands Loss Maps Q&A

    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. 

  • Wetlands Maps: Mouth of Coastal River

    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.

Image credits:  Matt Naughton