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Applying the Massachusetts Coastal Wetlands Regulations

Find information on and links to this document developed by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

In coastal communities, Conservation Commissions implement the Wetlands Protection Act (WPA) and Regulations to protect coastal resource areas and their functions. Storm damage prevention and flood control are two of the functions that require careful attention due to the dynamic coastal environment where wind, waves, and tides are constantly at work and storm surge and flooding during storm events can significantly damage properties.

​To meet the need for technical and regulatory information to help Commissions evaluate projects proposed in coastal resource areas for their potential to impact the storm damage prevention and flood control interests of the WPA, CZM and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) published: Applying the Massachusetts Coastal Wetlands Regulations: A Practical Manual for Conservation Commissions to Protect the Storm Damage Prevention and Flood Control Functions of Coastal Resource Areas, otherwise known as the Coastal Manual.

The Coastal Manual provides Commissions with 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. Along with step-by-step instructions, checklists, and example scenarios that describe a Commission’s review of a project, this manual includes notes on adjudicatory decisions and provides general MassDEP policy guidance.

Find links to the manual and additional information below. Please note that this document is not available from CZM in hard copy.

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