Certain activities are allowed in Class I or Class II wetlands without a permit. Allowed uses must follow guidelines specified in Section 6 of the Vermont Wetland Rules, and must comply with all other applicable laws. Examples of allowed uses include certain agricultural and silvicultural activities, certain utility operations and maintenance, low-impact recreational activities, certain activities relating to scientific research and education, and ordinary residential activities in existing lawns.
See Section 6 of the Vermont Wetland Rules for a complete list of allowed uses and detailed guidelines. The following links provide additional guidance and best management practices for specific allowed uses:
Agriculture and Silviculture
- Farming Activities in Wetlands and Buffers: Farming is not always Exempt from the Vermont Wetland Rules. This document explains what is and is not exempt from needing a Vermont Wetlands Permit.
- Accepted Agricultural Practices: The growing of food and crops is allowed under the Vermont Wetland Rules, provided it complies with other applicable laws and with the most recent Acceptable Agricultural Practices. The clearing of forested wetland for agricultural purposes requires a permit.
- Procedure for Application of Silviculture Allowed Uses of the Vermont Wetland Rules: Certain silvicultural activities are considered allowed uses. Read this guidance document if you intend to conduct silvicultural activities within a wetland or buffer zone.
- Acceptable Management Practices for Maintaining Water Quality on Logging Jobs in Vermont (AMP's): This document presents standards for complying with Vermont’s water quality regulations on logging jobs, which apply to wetlands.
- Silviculture and Deer Wintering Areas: Certain forested areas provide important habitat for deer during the winter, and are protected by the State of Vermont. This document describes silvicultural management guidelines for protecting Deer Wintering Areas.
Management and Harvesting of Plants and Wildlife
- Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species in Vermont: Noncommercial harvesting of wild foods and collection of scientific specimens are allowed for plants and animals not on the State’s list of threatened and endangered species, and in accordance with all other state and federal laws.
- Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping in Vermont: Anyone engaged in fishing, hunting, trapping, or taking any wild animals must be properly licensed, except under specific exceptions.
- Invasive Species Management: Control of non-native invasive plants is considered an allowed use under the Vermont Wetland Rules, if conducted under a plan approved by the Secretary. The Vermont Invasives website is the State’s clearinghouse of information for identifying and managing invasive species.
- Beaver Conflicts: Beaver play a critical ecological role in Vermont. By damming streams, they create and enhance wetland habitat for many other animals and plants. Unfortunately, beavers sometimes create dams in places where they pose significant hazards to public safety or property. In such cases, removal of dams is allowed if conducted in accordance with a plan approved by the Secretary. Follow the links below for more information about beaver management.
- BMPs for Handling Human-Beaver Conflicts (Brochure): This brochure outlines the BMPs for handling human-beaver conflicts while protecting water quality and wetlands.
- BMPs for Handling Human-Beaver Conflicts (Full Report): A thorough document detailing the BMPs.
- Beaver Natural History: Information about the life history: habitat, management and status of beaver in Vermont.
- Beaver Fact Sheet: A printer-friendly PDF version of the Beaver Natural History web page listed above.
- Solar Power: Solar projects are often cited in areas which may contain wetlands. If you are considering a solar energy project, this brochure will provide the information you need to protect wetlands.
- Utility Maintenance: The routine repair and maintenance of utility poles, lines, and corridors is allowed under the Vermont Wetland Rules, provided these activities are conducted in accordance with the BMPs presented in this document.
- New Overhead Utility Lines: The installation of overhead utility lines is an allowed use under the Vermont Wetland Rules, provided the activity is conducted in accordance with the BMPs presented in this document.
Other Allowed Uses and BMPs
- Agency Guidance for Applying Allowed Use 6.12 of the Vermont Wetland Rules
- Recreational Trail Building Guidance: This guidance explains wetland regulatory requirements for non-commercial trail building and trail upgrades.
- Vermont Wetlands Rules Applicability to Roads Procedure: This document provides the Agency of Natural Resources' interpretation of how the Vermont Wetland Rules (VWR) applies to the construction, repair, maintenance or improvements of roads that are in wetlands or wetland buffer zones.
- Procedure for Existing Constructed Features: This procedure is intended to clarift how the Wetlands Program determines when a feature shall not be regulated as a wetland under the Vermont Wetland Rules (VWR) in accordance with §3.1(b) of the VWR.
- Fact Sheet: Maintaining Surface Water Drainage Ditches. Learn how to maintain drainage ditches without contaminating Vermont’s waterways and violating state laws.
- Pond Maintenance: Routine maintenance and upkeep of construction ponds, including removal of vegetation or maintenance dredging, is an allowed use if it complies with the BMPs presented in this document.
- Duck Blinds, Fences, Docks and Similar Structures: These types of structures are allowed in wetlands and buffers, provided that they abide by the BMPs presented in this document.
- Requirements for Avoiding and Minimizing Impacts to Vernal Pools: The US Army Corps of Engineers has specific requirements and BMPs for protecting vernal pools during development projects. This page provides resources for learning about and following the Vernal Pool BMPs.
- Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST): Snowmobiling is only allowed in Class I and II wetlands on existing trails designated by VAST. The VAST website provides a map of designated trails and other resources.
- Rhode Island Wetland BMP Manual: The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Groundwater and Freshwater Wetland Protection Program developed this Wetland BMP Manual, which provides guidance on avoiding and minimizing negative impacts to wetlands while conducting a variety of activities. This is intended to be a helpful resource, and is not a substitute for the list of allowed uses in the Vermont Wetland Rules, and the BMPs developed by the Secretary of the State of Vermont.
- Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control (EPSC) Plan Checklist
- EPSC in Winter
- VT WPSC Field Guide