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 Maine? The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been designated by the Governor of the State as the certifying agency for issuance of Section 401 water quality certification for all activities in the state not subject to Land Use Regulation Commission permitting and review. An applicant for a federal license or permit to conduct an activity that may result in a discharge to a navigable water of the United States must supply the federal licensing authority with a certification from the State that any such discharge will comply with State water quality standards. The federal license or permit may not be issued until water quality certification has been issued or waived. DEP may add conditions to the certification, and these must become conditions of the federal license.
Mitigation Measures. The Board recognizes that a loss in wetland functions and values may not be avoided in every instance. For example, in some cases, the level of mitigation necessary to achieve no net loss of wetland functions and values through construction of replacement wetlands will not be practicable, or will have an insignificant effect in protecting the State's wetlands resources. Mitigation can occur through wetland restoration, enhancement, preservation, or creation. Applicants may also purchase rights in mitigation banks. Banking must take place in the same watershed or in the project vicinity of the future alteration work, if feasible. Otherwise, it must be located as close to the wetland alteration site or sites as possible.
Wetlands. Freshwater wetlands are defined as "freshwater swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and for a duration sufficient to support, and which under normal conditions do support, a prevalence of wetland vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soils."
Wetland Categories. The Board has established three levels of review for permit applications that are applied depending upon the size and type of wetland impacted.
Regulated Wetland Activities. Persons must obtain a permit before performing any regulated activity. Activities that require a permit are the dredging, bulldozing, removing or displacing of soil, sand, vegetation or other materials; the draining or otherwise dewatering; the filling; or any construction, repair, or alteration of any permanent structure.
Exempt Wetland Activities. When they take place according to the specifications in the act, other activities do not require a permit: water lines and utility cables, maintenance and repair, existing road culverts, floating docks, interstate pipelines, gold panning, agricultural activities, forests, hydropower projects, public works, acquaculture, soil evaluation, existing access ways, mooring, harvesting of marine organisms, vegetation in coastal wetlands, subsurface wastewater disposal systems, minor alterations in freshwater wetlands, service drops for telephone or electrical service, displacement or bulldozing of sediment within a lobster pound, constructed ponds, and the removal of beaver dams.
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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