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Summary of Vermont Wetlands Guidance
Wetlands Overview
Wetland Basics The associated links provide a description of wetland characteristics; a Vermont wetland photo gallery; the basics of the VT Wetlands Program; and a description of the three indicators of wetland presence and the common wetland types in Vermont.
Do I have a wetland?
Land-Owners Guide to Wetlands A list of signs that indicate you may have a wetland and what steps to take if you do.
Using the Wetlands Inventory Map to Identify Wetlands A “how-to” on using the VT Wetlands Inventory Map to identify wetlands with mapping tools and a link to the VT Wetlands Inventory Map.
Wetlands Screening Tool The wetland screening tool was developed to help you navigate all the mapping layers which indicate a property may have wetlands on it. In addition to the Vermont Wetland Inventory Maps, the tool also screens for nearby hydric soils, wetland projects, wetland permits, wetland natural community types, and wetland advisory layers. To get started, all you need is the 911 address or the SPAN number for an undeveloped property.
Wetlands Site Screening

Tips & Tricks, Tools & Techniques to conduct a desktop review for wetland presence/absence on the land. There are numerous resources out there and things to look for. Please see our YouTube training presentation and this cheat sheet.

Wetland Consultant List A list of qualified wetlands scientists that can conduct a wetland delineation in Vermont.
Wetland Avoidance and Minimization Techniques
Site Design for Wetland Protection A Rhode Island guidance document that illustrates how wetlands can be avoided by smart site design. Vermont wetland regulations still apply.
Low-Impact Design and Stormwater Management Links to low-impact design and storm water management techniques, which are an important part of protecting wetlands and water quality.
ALLOWED USES AND Best Management Practices (BMPs)
Allowed Uses A link to the allowed uses (Section 6) of the VT Wetland Rules.
Ponds, Docks and Boardwalks VT Wetlands Program guidance on allowed uses associated with pond maintenance, docks and boardwalks.
Solar Power Our new guidance document for solar developer and landowners.
Utilities VT Wetlands Program guidance on allowed uses associated utilities.
Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Guidance documents that provide descriptions and uses for manmade wetlands and Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control (EPSC) when working in areas sensitive to erosion. *Natural wetlands should never be used for stormwater or wastewater treatment.
Agriculture The Vermont Association of Conservation Districts website provides information about Accepted Agricultural Practices (AAP) and agricultural BMPs. The APPs and BMPs are standards designed to reduce non-point source pollutant discharges through implementation of improved farming techniques.
Ditch Maintenance is a guidance document which outlines the best management practices for ditch maintenance in agricultural and residential areas.
Silviculture and Logging VT Wetlands Program guidance on silviculture as an allowed use based on the Vermont Wetland Rules.
A link to Acceptable Management Practices for Maintaining Water Quality on Logging Jobs in Vermont (AMP's). The AMP's are scientifically proven methods for loggers and landowners to follow for maintaining water quality and minimizing erosion.
VT Fish and Wildlife guidance on managing deer wintering areas. This document is referred to in the silviculture allowed uses section of the Vermont Wetland Rules.
Vernal Pools U.S. Army Corps of Engineers vernal pool information and guidance for determining adequate buffers for the protection of vernal pool species.
Beavers Pamphlets and links that describe why beavers are an important part of the wetland ecosystem and how to manage them responsibly.
Wetland Functions and Values A link to the 10 functions and values the VT Wetlands Program uses to evaluate VT wetlands and their importance to public and ecosystem health. The evaluation sheet is used by wetland professionals for a preliminary assessment of wetland functions and values.
Wetland Buffers "Buffer Zones and Beyond" is a report that addresses the buffer zone in terms of wildlife habitat use. "Wetland Buffers: Use and Effectiveness" is a report detailing the use of specific wildlife species within a certain distance of the wetland edge in the buffer zone.
Wetland Training Opportunities The Vermont Education and Outreach page connects interested parties to training opportunities in Vermont and New England.
The Amphibian Monitoring Training videos were created by the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier for citizen scientist, curious landowners, and professionals to track amphibian movement and breeding patterns in Vermont.
Vernal Pools & Amphibian Breeding Habitat The Vermont Vernal Pools Group provides Vermonters updates on migration and breeding locations and times. This can be a useful tool for consultants and landowners. Please post your observations to:
Vernal pools is a link to the VT definition of vernal pools, their importance, and how to identify them.


The VT Herp Atlas shows the distribution of reptiles and amphibians such as frogs and salamanders throughout the State of VT and the VT Vernal Pool Mapping Project offers the public an opportunity to become involved in mapping vernal pools.
The Amphibian Monitoring Training video is a link to learn about locating and identifying areas for amphibian migration during the spring months.
Also find an educational article on fairy shrimp, a small aquatic organism found in vernal pools.

Northeast Amphibian Information Links for exploring the library of information about amphibian breeding habitats from states in the Northeast. The links also include protocols used to define and identify amphibian breeding habitats and guidance for establishing buffers to protect these sensitive habitats.
Invasive Wetland Plant Species Fact sheets and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers resources for invasive plant species that can be found in wetlands and how to manage them.
Identification and Delineation
USGS Northeast Wetland Flora Field Office Guide An easy to use, illustrated wetland guide to aquatic, wetland and invasive plants. Includes photographs, plant ID videos and a comprehensive database.
USDA Plant Database A single source of standardized information about plants including names, checklists, automated tools, identification information, species abstracts, distributional data, wetland indicator status, and other plant information.
University of Florida Aquatic Plant Database Maintains a computerized bibliographic database (Copyright University of Florida, 2000) devoted to freshwater aquatic and wetland plants as well as terrestrial and aquatic invasive plants.
NRCS Hydric Soils Homepage The most current information about hydric soils from the NRCS-USDA Soil Survey Division, including the current definition of a hydric soil, the criteria for hydric soils, the list of field indicators of hydric soils, and the meeting minutes for the National Technical Committee for Hydric Soils.
Official Soil Series Descriptions The Official Soil Series Description Query Facility enables you to create a list of soil series meeting specified selection criteria. Soil series may be selected based on various geographic areas of responsibility or use, series status, various dates, or the soil classification.
Keys to Soil Taxonomy NRCS-USDA Soil Survey Division key to soil taxonomy in downloadable format.
NRCS Soil Survey Manual The Soil Survey Manual provides in a single volume the major principles and practices needed for making and using soil surveys and for assembling and using data related to them. The Manual is intended primarily for use by soil scientists, but can also be used by workers and students who have limited soils experience.
NRCS Soils Vermont Find out the status of NRCS County Soil Surveys in Vermont, including where to find on-line surveys, digital, and paper copies.
Web Soil Survey Web Soil Survey (WSS) provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. It is operated by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and provides access to the largest natural resource information system in the world. Soil surveys can be used for general farm, local, and wider area planning.
Wetland Hydrologic Criteria and Field Indicators A presentation developed by the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) for training of state wetlands regulatory and enforcement staff. Part of the Advanced Wetland Delineation Module I.
Field Indicators of Hydric Soils in the United States A guide for identifying and delineating hydric soils, version 8.1, 2017. A subset of these soils are found in the regional supplement. To use indicators properly, a basic knowledge of soil/landscape relationships is necessary.
Updated National Wetland Plant List (NWPL) The National Wetlands Plant List is now reviewed and updated on an annual basis. The most current NWPL should be used in any wetland delineations or determinations performed after July 17, 2013. The corresponding NWPL may be used in delineation/determination forms prior to that date, and should be referenced on any data forms used in the wetland delineation/determination if used.
1987 Corps of Engineers Delineation Manual The "official" version of the federal manual used in delineations for the Army Corps of Engineers.
Regional Supplements to the 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual The Corps has developed supplemental regional criteria for the 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual. The development of Regional Supplements is part of a nationwide effort to address regional wetland characteristics and improve the accuracy and efficiency of wetland-delineation procedures. The Northcentral and Northeast Region Supplement is applicable to Vermont.
Conservation and Restoration
Local Wetland Initiatives Contact the Watershed Coordinator in your district to recommend an initiative and find out what initiatives may be happening.
Native Plant Resources A list of nurseries that provide native plant species for wetland restoration and enhancement activities.
Wetland Restoration Links to EPA wetland restoration information; a document on Wetland Restoration, Creation and Enhancement from the US EPA and NOAA; Wisconsin's Wetland Association website on restoring wetlands; and Michigan's Department of Natural Resources page on wetland restoration techniques. All wetland restoration projects should be reviewed by the Vermont Wetlands Office before restoration begins.
Funding Opportunities The Five Star Restoration Program brings together students, conservation corps, other youth groups, citizen groups, corporations, landowners and government agencies to provide environmental education and training through projects that restore wetlands and streams.
Conservation Reserve Program The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a land conservation program administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). The long-term goal of the program is to re-establish valuable land cover to help improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce loss of wildlife habitat.
Wetland Reserve Easement The Natural Resource Conservation Service Wetlands Reserve Easement (WRE) is a voluntary program that provides an opportunity for landowners to receive financial assistance to enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring marginal land from agricultural. WRE provides technical and financial assistance to eligible landowners to address wetland, wildlife habitat, soil, water, and related natural resource concerns on private lands in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner.
Vermont Clean Water Initiative (Clean Water Vermont) The new Vermont Clean Water Initiative – Clean Water Vermont -- reflects an exciting and growing collaboration among municipalities, state agencies, local and regional partners, farmers, businesses and the public to take action that will safeguard the public’s access to clean and safe water throughout the state. Vermonters and our visitors love the State’s streams, rivers, lakes, ponds and wetlands – they help define our green mountain landscape. We know that our quality of life that we enjoy depend upon access to clean and healthy water.
VT Grant Opportunities A list of Vermont Water Quality grant opportunities.
VT Wetland Rules The VT Wetland Rules were created to protect significant wetlands and describe VTANR’s regulatory oversight of wetlands including: identification of wetlands, wetland exemptions, wetland classification, designation of buffer zones, functional criteria, allowed uses, mapping, wetlands determinations, rulemaking and permits.
Do I Need a Wetland Permit? Most activities proposed within 50-ft of a wetland require a permit. If you are unsure if your project requires a permit, contact your district ecologist and review the VT Wetland Rules. Avoidance and minimization must be practiced before a project can be considered for a permit. The associated links help to determine if a project requires a permit.
Classification Guidance The following documents provide acceptable protocol and data forms for wetland consultants to follow while conducting wetland investigations to independently determine which wetlands are considered protected under the Vermont Wetland Rules (VWR).
Permits The VT Wetlands Program issues two types of permits: an individual permit and a general permit. Read the General Permit in order to decide if your project will qualify. The same application form can be used to apply for both the individual and general permits. Please read the directions before filling out the application and use the Permit Application Checklist to help ensure that your application is complete. The checklist is not intended for large-scale projects that may need additional information.
If you are proposing activity in more than one wetland use the supplemental for additional wetlands form.
Also view permits that are currently on public notice and search past wetland permits.
Permit Pre Application Material  
Permit Application Materials  
Permit Post Approval Materials  
Wetland Violations Wetlands violations should be reported to the enforcement division. They may be referred to a Wetlands Staff after initial review.
Wastewater Design and Wetlands A guidance document for wastewater designers that provides project review information, jurisdictional consideration, wetland delineation criteria, and common wetland vegetation.
Wetland Determination The procedure that VT Wetlands Staff use to determine if a wetland is Class II or Class III.
Act 250 Review Guidelines Some projects require Act 250 review and all Act 250 projects require wetlands review. Learn what type of activities qualify for an Act 250 permit. Use the Permit Navigator tool to identify the required environmental permits and approvals for projects on a single parcel. If it is a linear, polygon, or multi-parcel project, contact a Community Assistance Specialist to get started.  
Water Quality Certification A small number of wetland projects require water quality certifications. If you are involved in an activity that is subject to a Federal permit or license and may result in a discharge to waters of the United States, you may need a Water Quality Certification.
Federal Wetland Regulations & Class III Wetlands The Army Corp of Engineers also regulates activities in wetlands. Visit the ACOE website or contact the ACOE representative in your area to find out if you need a permit or project review.
Town Wetland Responsibilities Towns have adopted different zoning to protect water resources. Contact your town to see if they have additional wetland regulations to consider.
Wetland Map Adjustments Use this form to request a change in a Vermont Significant Wetlands Inventory mapped wetland
Program Reports
Wetland Delineation Consultant Improvements Report The Agency of Natural Resource (ANR) Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Wetlands Program retained consultation services from the Vermont Certified Public Managers Program (VCPM®) in November 2017 to assist with Wetland Consultant Accountability.  This is their final report which outlines action items for improving the quality of wetland delineation work throughout the State.
Vermont Wetlands Program's 2011-2015 Trend Report and Regulatory Update This report fulfills the U.S. EPA Performance Partnership Agreement task of reporting on the gains and losses of wetlands state-wide and gives an update on state wetland regulation. The time-period reported on and analyzed in this report is from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2015.
2009 Bioassessment Report This report describes the findings of the Wetlands Bioassessment program in the years 2008 and 2009. 51 wetlands were sampled during this time period, with emphasis on wetlands in the Green Mountain ecoregion, in a wide range of conditions. Plant transect data and water quality data were collected for each wetland.
Preliminary Analysis of Vermont’s Wetland Biological Monitoring Floristic Quality Assessment Index (2015) This report describes the use of Floristic Quality Assessment Index (FQAI) and Coefficient of Conservation as measurements of Vermont wetland condition. The methodology is described, and the Coefficient of Conservation scores are compared with Vermont Rapid Assessment Index scores and water chemistry metrics to establish the connection between the FQAI and wetland condition. Results indicate that FQAI is an effective measure of wetland condition but only when comparing wetlands of similar types.
Vermont Rapid Assessment Method Protocol This protocol describes the Vermont Rapid Assessment Method (VRAM), a rapid wetland assessment method that is used by the Wetlands Program to assess wetland condition and function. The VRAM is quick and easy to conduct, and after attending a training can be completed by conservation groups and citizen scientists.
NRCS Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program A voluntary program for people who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private land. Through WHIP USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service provides both technical assistance and up to 75 percent cost-share assistance to establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat. Look for information on Vermont under Index to State Programs and Information, and under the Success Story on the Connecticut River.
Wetlands as Bird Habitat A USGS technical paper that discusses the factors of wetlands that influences birds, the importance of wetlands to birds, the effects of wetlands on waterfowl populations, and the effects of wetland degradation on bird populations.
Wetlands and Floods The University of Wisconsin discusses the role of wetland loss in flooding.
Flood Control Factsheet 1 in a series of 10 factsheets developed by the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands. The factsheet describes how wetland slow and store water and gives examples from around the world on how wetlands have prevented flood damage.
How Different Types of Wetlands Respond to Flooding A study that looks at how different wetland types prevent or reduce flooding depending on soils types, location in landscape, and hydroperiod.
Preparing for the Next Flood: Vermont Floodplain Management A guide created by the Vermont Law School's Land Use Institute to aid state and local groups to responsibly manage floodplains to reduce flooding and liability during flooding events.
Quantifying flood mitigation services: The economic value of Otter Creek wetlands and floodplains to Middlebury, VT In this article, the authors estimate the economic value of flood mitigation by the Otter Creek floodplains and wetlands to Middlebury, VT for Tropical Storm Irene and nine other floods.
Vermont Ramsar Sites Ramsar Sites are designated because they are considered Wetlands of International Importance. These wetlands contain representative, rare or unique wetland types, and they are important for conserving biological diversity.  Only 38 Ramsar sites are located  in the U.S. The Missisquoi Delta and Bay wetlands is the only Ramsar Site in Vermont. At 7,665 acres, the Missisquoi Delta and Bay Wetlands is the largest wetland complex and major economic driver in the Lake Champlain Basin. Here is some information on the ecology and economics of the Missisquoi Delta and Bay wetlands.