Wetlands Rulemaking

Rule change presentation – a recording of November 1st public meeting presentation which explains the extent of the changes and the history of map use for wetland identification.

Public Hearings

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation is seeking comment on the proposed revisions to the Vermont Wetland Rules at series of Public Hearings this October-November.  You may participate in person or virtually through Microsoft Teams.

October 31st at 5pm: Welcome Center  51 Depot Square, Suite 100, St. Johnsbury, VT.
 
November 1st at 5pm: Damon Hall 1 Quechee Rd, Hartland VT.

November 2nd at 5:30pm: RRPC Conference Room, 3rd Floor, 67 Merchants Row (Opera House), Rutland, VT.

November 4th at 5:00pm: 120 First Street, Swanton, VT.

The Wetlands Program is holding one additional virtual-only meeting to receive comments about the draft Vermont Wetland Rule and wetland map edits.  The meeting will take place next Wednesday, November 16th at 10am.  No pre-registration is required.  Simply click here to join the meeting.

You do not need to attend a meeting to provide comments.  Comments will be accepted through November 23rd. Submit comments in writing to laura.lapierre@vermont.gov.

Wetland Map Edit Proposal

The Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing to update the Vermont Significant Wetlands Inventory (VSWI), generally determine wetland types as Class II, and revise the Vermont Wetland Rules.  The proposed Rule amendments are intended to clarify the Agency's authority to reclassify wetlands in general, and clarify the Agency's jurisdiction over certain significant wetland types.  The proposed amendments rearticulate the Agency's statutory authority to reclassify categories of wetlands in general, and list wetland types that have been categorically determined to be Class II based on an evaluation of their functions and values.  Proposed amendments to Section 8 clarify how public notice is provided for categorical wetland determinations.  Appendix A is also amended to reclassify Ward's Marsh and Eshqua Bog as Class I wetlands.

See the below links to view draft materials.  The pre-rulemaking comment period closed July 1,2022 and the responsiveness summary may be viewed in the link below.  The Department is now reviewing comments and will provide a responsiveness summary.  Next, the Department will decide whether to initiate Rulemaking to start formal process of adopting those edits.  The Rulemaking filing would be placed on formal public notice through the Secretary of State and public hearings would be held.

The Agency recognizes the importance of providing maps to the public, so that landowners can avoid impacts to significant wetlands.  The updated map is intended to clarify the location of existing significant wetlands and provide better predictability for landowners.  The interactive draft VSWI map, linked below in allows the public to comment on specific proposed wetland mapping.  
Any unauthorized activity or construction in a significant wetland prior to its mapping is still a violation of the Wetland Rules.  The Agency will investigate complaints of unauthorized activity in significant wetlands, including newly mapped significant wetlands, as those complaints are received.  Generally, reports of ongoing unauthorized activity or construction within significant wetlands, including recently mapped wetlands, will receive priority with the goal of preventing further disturbance within the wetlands.  Please do not submit wetland rule violation complaints in the comment section of the draft maps, complaints should be made here.  Also, please note that land used to grow food or crops before the Wetland Rules were established are considered exempt, even in areas of mapped wetland. Please refer to our Vermont Farming Activities in Wetlands and Buffers Document for more details on this issue.

Authority:  The Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources has the authority to revise the Vermont Significant Wetlands Inventory map to reflect wetland determinations. 10 V.S.A §916.  According to 10 V.S.A §905b (810) B and §914, the Secretary may reclassify wetlands in general and determine whether a wetland is Class II or Class III.  Finally, the Secretary has the authority to adopt Rules in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act which are necessary for the proper administration of the Agency’s duties.  10 V.S.A §905b (17).  

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