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Vermont Wetland Rule Amendments - 2017

March 2, 2017

Vermont Wetland Rule Amendments - 2017

Effective April 1, 2017 the Vermont Wetland Rules will change from the 2010 version to the recently approved 2017 Vermont Wetland Rules.  The purpose of this rulemaking is primarily to make minor administrative updates to the Vermont Wetland Rules, last amended in 2010.  This rulemaking includes updates to outdated statutory references, updated notice and comment requirements for the issuance of individual and general permits to reflect the permit process reform measures adopted under Act 150 of 2016 (S.123), and several new definitions intended to clarify existing processes.  The proposed Rule also includes an explicit procedure for amending individual wetland permits, including an administrative, minor, and major amendment process.  The changes to the permit noticing process will increase the time applications for wetland permits are on public notice by 5-15 days.

The adopted amendments also include Class I protections for three wetlands.  The three new Class I wetlands are the Sandbar wetlands in Milton and Colchester, Dennis Pond wetlands in Brunswick, and Chickering Fen in Calais. Class I designations are reserved for those wetlands which are exceptional or irreplaceable in in their contribution to Vermont’s natural heritage, and the Agency may issue a permit authorizing activity in a Class I wetland only to meet a compelling public need to protect public health or safety.  Class I wetlands also receive a larger protected buffer zone.  

The amendments to the Vermont Wetland Rules were filed with the Internal Committee of Administrative Rule August 30, 2016, and was placed on public notice for comment from September 21, 2016 to November 3, 2016.  During the public notice period, the Wetlands Program held a total of three public hearings in the towns of Berlin, Vernon and Brunswick Vermont.  The Wetlands Program reviewed and responded to all comments before filing with the Legislative Committee of Administrative Review (LCAR) November 29, 2016.  LCAR reviewed the amendments at two public hearings on January 12 and 26 of 2016, and approved.  The final Rules were filed with the Secretary of State March 2, 2017 and will be effective April 1, 2017.

Below are links on the new adopted Rules.