Services: Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Permitting

picture of wetland conservation markerOnce regarded as wasteland with little to no economic value, wetlands are now considered to be extremely valuable natural resources that provide innumerable benefits to humans, fish, wildlife, and the natural environment as a whole. Wetlands provide for a means of water filtration, flood water storage, fish and wildlife habitat, aesthetics, biological productivity, and recreation. The ability of wetlands act like a sponge to store and slowly release water reduces floodwater heights (which reduces the risk of property damage and loss of life during floods), minimizes erosion potential, and promotes groundwater recharge which contributes to surface water baseflow during dry periods. Wetlands act to settle out suspended sediment from water entering them due to the diminished water velocities within the wetland. Wetlands also act to filter out dissolved nutrients from fertilizers, manure, leaking septic tanks, and municipal sewer systems through plant and microorganism uptake and pollutant adherence to soil particles. In addition, wetlands are some of the most biologically productive natural ecosystems in the world. The abundant vegetation and shallow waters provide diverse habitats for fish and wildlife. Aquatic plant life is supported by the nutrient-rich environment, and energy converted by the plants is passed up the food chain to fish, waterfowl, and other wildlife.

In order to protect valuable natural resources, municipalities require any site development project that may have an impact on wetlands or watercourses to obtain an Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Permit. Most municipalities have specific regulations regarding what can or cannot be done in proximity to a wetland. In addition, most municipalities have established regulated areas within a certain distance from a wetland limit. All activities within a regulated area or wetland are required to be approved by the regulating wetland agency in that municipality. Typically the inland wetland and watercourse regulating agency consists of an Inland Wetland and Watercourse Commission comprised of volunteers who reside within the municipality. Other times (typically in larger cities) wetland and watercourse regulation may be done by a land use official hired by the municipality to oversee some portion of the wetland permitting within the municipality.

The staff of Arthur H. Howland & Associates, P.C. offers a great deal of expertise in designing projects that are sensitive to wetlands and watercourse and obtaining inland wetland permits for their clients. If you are looking to develop on a piece of land that contains wetlands or watercourse, contact us at (860) 354-9346 to discuss how Arthur H. Howland & Associates, P.C. can be an asset in helping you obtain a wetland permit for your project.

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