Wetlands State Resource Locator

State Wetlands Information Tool (SWIFT)


Pennsylvania

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.

Primary State Wetlands Web Page. This web page should explain the state wetlands program and provide links to various wetlands resources.

Construction Permit Process - State Rules

    How Are Wetlands Activities Regulated by Pennsylvania? The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulates activities impacting wetlands under the authority of the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act and Dam Safety and Waterway Management Rules and Regulations (Title 25, Pennsylvania Code, Chapter 105). The Army Corps of Engineers has issued a Pennsylvania State Programmatic General Permit # 2 (PASPGP-2). This permit is a federal Clean Water Act, Section 404 Permit that authorizes the discharge of dredge and fill material into waters of the United States. In most instances, PASPGP-2 can be issued by the DEP or a county conservation district with approved Chapter 105 water obstruction and encroachment permits. PASPGP-2 eliminates the need for dual and often redundant state and federal reviews, processing and permit issuance procedures.

    Permit applications for work in wetlands, rivers, streams and other waters will be reviewed by DEP or the delegated county conservation district. Those applications for projects that have potential significant environmental impacts will be forwarded to the Corps for review. Applications not forwarded to the Corps will be processed entirely by DEP or the delegated county conservation districts.

    Mitigation Measures. The Department requires an applicant to institute wetland replacement measures. Wetlands must be replaced at a minimum area, function, and value ratio of 1:1.

Regulatory Definitions
    Wetlands. Wetlands are "areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, including swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas."

    Wetland Categories. The regulations distinguish between exceptional value wetlands and other wetlands.

    Regulated Wetland Activities. A permit is necessary for the construction, operation, maintenance, modification, enlargement or abandonment of a dam, water obstruction, or encroachment. Certain activities do not require a permit, unless the Department finds they have a significant effect upon the safety or protection of the environment.

    Exempt Wetland Activities. Some activities exempted from the Act are dams not exceeding 3 feet in height, the maintenance of an artificial pond or reservoir, water obstructions in streams or floodways with a drainage area of 100 acres or less, aerial crossing of a nonnavigable stream or wetland by electric or telephone lines, a dam subject to the requirements of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, maintenance of field drainage systems, and restoration activities.

Wetland Regulatory Background Information

Organizations/Non-Government Programs
  • 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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