Note: Most states have enacted laws and regulations to protect wetlands. In many cases, these rules are established to define the state's role in the "§404 permit/§401 certification process." This process involves the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and your state environmental agency. To learn more about the wetlands permitting process go to the CICA Wetlands Regulations/Permit page.
How Are Wetlands Activities Regulated by Connecticut? In 1972, the Connecticut Legislature enacted the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Act (Act). This law is found in section 22a-36 through 22a-45 of the Connecticut General Statutes. The Act created a regulatory process to consider the impacts of proposed activities on inland wetlands and watercourses; and in keeping with the home rule political culture of our state, the Act provided for municipalities to implement this regulatory process. By the mid-1980s the majority of municipalities were administering the Act with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulating activities within approximately 25 towns or cities.
In 1987, the Connecticut Legislature amended the Act and provided language that clearly signaled its desire to have all municipalities administering this law. Section 22a-42 of the Act was amended to read, "To carry out and effectuate the purposes and policies of sections 22a-36 to 22a-45, inclusive, it is hereby declared to be the public policy of the state to require municipal regulation of activities affecting the wetlands and watercourses within the territorial limits of the various municipalities or districts". In addition, the amendment required that all municipalities establish an inland wetlands agency by July 1, 1988. As a result, all of Connecticut's 169 communities now have municipal inland wetlands agencies. In fact, there are 170 municipal inland wetlands agencies as the City of Groton and the Town of Groton are separate.
Today's municipal inland wetlands agency regulates activities that affect inland wetlands and watercourses within their municipal boundaries. These activities, often referred to as "regulated activities", are those proposed or conducted by all persons other than state agencies. State agency actions are solely regulated by the DEP. The volume of business conducted by municipal inland wetlands agencies is substantial on a statewide basis. Over 4,000 actions (such as permit approvals or denials, enforcement proceedings, etc.) are taken by Connecticut's municipal inland wetlands agencies annually, and this number is increasing by approximately 12 percent per year.
Mitigation Measures. Persons that wish to conduct a regulated activity in a wetland in a coastal area must demonstrate the activity is consistent with state policy and that it incorporates all reasonable measures that would mitigate its adverse environmental impact.
Wetlands. Wetlands are land, including submerged land, not regulated under the Tidal Wetlands Act which are comprised of soil types designated as poorly drained, very poorly drained, alluvial, and flood plain under the National Cooperative Soils Survey of the Soil Conservation Service of the US Department of Agriculture.
Regulated Wetland Activities. Any operation within or use of a wetland or watercourse involving the removal or deposition of material, or any obstruction, construction, alteration, or pollution in such wetlands or watercourses.
Exempt Wetland Activities. The following activities are not regulated under the act: 1. The grazing, farming, nursing, gardening, and harvesting of crops and farm ponds of three acres or less that are essential to the farm's operation, and activities conducted by or under the authority of the DEP for wetland and watercourse restoration; 2. A residential home for which a building permit has been issued; 3. Boat anchorage or mooring; 4. Uses incidental to the enjoyment and maintenance of residential property; 5. Construction and operation of municipal dams or reservoirs by water companies; 6. Maintenance relating to certain drainage pipes. Other activities, such as the conservation of natural resources, outdoor recreation, or construction by state agencies, do not require a permit.
Water Environment Federation. The WEF Web site provides access to a wetlands related technical discussion area, as well as publications and other information on wetlands.
Wetlands Regulation Center. The Wetlands Regulation Center Web site contains information on laws, policies and regulations concerning activities regulated under Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act.
Association of State Wetland Managers. The Association of State Wetland Managers Web site provides information on wetlands news and events, including new regulations/legislation, upcoming conferences and events, publications, and more.
Society of Wetland Scientists. The Society of Wetland Scientists Web site provides access to on-line scientific wetlands journals and a wetlands discussion forum, as well as information on upcoming wetlands conferences and events.
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