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 Maryland? Maryland regulates nontidal wetlands under its Nontidal Wetlands Program. This program is primarily administered by the Department of Environment, but the Department's authority can be delegated to any county government that enacts a nontidal wetland protection program.
Wetlands. Nontidal wetland is defined as an area that is inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and under normal conditions does support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, commonly known as hydrophytic vegetation. Isolated nontidal wetlands are a type of nontidal wetland that is not hydrologically connected, through surface or subsurface flow, to streams, tidal or nontidal wetlands, or tidal waters. Permits are required for any activity that is water dependent and requires access to a nontidal wetland as an essential element of its operation, or an activity that is not water dependent and has no other practicable alternative.
Wetland Categories. Nontidal wetlands are regulated under Title 5 of Maryland's Environment statutes. Tidal wetlands, including state and private wetlands, are regulated under a different statutory scheme that also places stipulations on dredging and filling activities.
Regulated Wetland Activities. The program regulates the following activities within a nontidal wetland or within a 25 foot buffer of a nontidal wetland: the removal, excavation, or dredging of soil, gravel, minerals, organic matter, or materials of any kind; the change of existing drainage characteristics, sedimentation, organic matter, or materials of any kind; the disturbance of water level or water table by drainage, impoundment, or other means; the dumping, discharging of material, or filling with material, including the driving of piles and placing of obstructions; the grading or removal of materials; the grading or removal of material that would alter existing topography; and the destruction or removal of plant life that alters the character of a nontidal wetland.
Exempt Wetland Activities. Agricultural and forest activities are not regulated under the nontidal wetlands program. Activities that normally occur in nontidal wetlands that have a minimal impact, including the repair and maintenance of existing structures, utilities, underground utilities, rights-of- way, and railroad beds are exempt from the program's mitigation and permit requirements. Activities conducted on isolated nontidal wetlands that are both less than one acre and have no significant plant and wildlife are also exempt. Specific forest and agricultural activities are exempt from the program. Some of these activities are agricultural actions performed under public drainage regulations, the construction and maintenance of forest roads, and agricultural and forest activities in areas that have laid fallow as part of a conventional rotational cycle.
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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