Presentation on theme: "Overview of the Vermont Wetlands Program"— Presentation transcript:
1 Overview of the Vermont Wetlands Program Blah blah balhks;dlkfj;lkj
2 Presentation Overview Vermont Statutory OverviewWetlands Section OverviewStaffing and ResourcesWorkload and Project DistributionProject ReviewDesk ReviewField VisitsCUD ProcessRecommendations
3 Brief History of the Vermont Wetland Rules 1986: 10 V.S.A Chapter 37, Section 905(a) (7-9): Established statutory framework for identifying and protecting Vermont’s wetlands1990: Vermont Wetland Rules adopted by the Water Resources Board2002: Vermont Wetland Rules were updated2004: Act 115 of the Vermont General Assembly was passed: Natural Resourced Board was created to succeed the Environmental and Water Resources Boards on February 1, 2005.
4 InvestigationsThe Panel may open an investigation and issue such orders as it deems necessary to gather information, identify policy issues, and formulate strategies or means for addressing issues within its jurisdiction.
5 Water Resources Panel Authority 10 VSA 6025[d] Identification & Evaluation of Significant WetlandsThe water resources panel may adopt rules, regardingthe identification of wetlands which are so significant thatthey merit protection. Any determination that a particularwetland is significant will result from an evaluation of the enumerated functions which a wetland serves (10 VSA 6025[d(5)]):
6 Identification & Evaluation of Significant Wetlands The Vermont Wetland Rules recognize that the“statute limits the applicability of these rulesto those wetlands which are so significant thatthey merit protection in this program” (VWR§ 1.1).
7 Wetland Reclassifications The water resources panel may adopt rules regarding the ability to reclassify wetlands, in general, or on a case-by-case basis (10 VSA § 6025[d]).Section 7 of the VWR provides for the Panel, upon receipt of a petition or by its own motion, to determine whether to reclassify any wetland to a higher or lower classification.
8 Wetland Reclassifications VWR Section 7.5 provides for temporary designation of wetland significance.Such temporary designations shall be for a period of 60 days, unless otherwise specified by the Panel for a good cause.
9 Wetland Protection Rules The water resources panel may adopt rulesprotecting wetlands that have been determined to be significant, including rules that provide for the issuance or denial of conditional use determinations by the Department of Environmental Conservation (10 VSA § 6025[d]).
10 Consent of Agency of Agriculture Required The panel shall not adopt rules that restrain agricultural activities without the consent of the Secretary of the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (10 VSA § 6025[d]).
11 Consent of Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation Required The panel shall not adopt rules that restrain silvicultural activities without the consent of the Commissioner of the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation (10 VSA § 6025[d]).
12 VSWI MapsVWR § 3.2[b] provides that the VSWI maps denote the approximate location and configuration of significant wetlands.Actual boundaries of wetlands shown on the VSWI maps shall be determined in the field.
13 VSWI MapsVWR § 4.5[b] pertains to the “Use and Limitations of VSWI maps.” The VSWI maps should not be relied upon to provide precise information regarding the location or configuration of significant wetlands (see Section 3.2). They are intended to denote the approximate location and configuration of significant wetlands.
14 VSWI MapsVWR § 4.5[a] provides that the Secretary shall revise the affected VSWI maps annually.
15 Options for Local Input on VSWI Map Revisions 24 VSA § 4325 authorizes municipal planning commissions to undertake capacity studies and make recommendations on matters of wetland protection.
16 Options for Local Input on VSWI Map Revisions 24 VSA § 4345 likewise authorizes regional planning commissions to do the same. A regional plan adopted pursuant to 24 VSA 4348a must include a map and statement of present and prospective land uses which require special consideration for aquifer protection, wetland protection, or for other conservation purposes (24 VSA § 4348a[a][A]).
17 Options for Local Input on VSWI Map Revisions 24 VSA § 4382[a] provides a similar requirement for a municipality to adopt a municipal development plan. Some municipalities in Vermont have already mapped the wetlands in their jurisdiction.
18 VTDEC Authority 10 VSA §§ 905 and 1272 Propose to the Panel specific wetlands to be designated as significant wetlands, and;Implement through existing programs the rules adopted by the Panel governing significant wetlands, including the issuance or denial of conditional use determinations pursuant to 10 VSA § 1272 (10 VSA § 905b).Conditional Use Determinations: 10 VSA § 1272 Regulation of activities causing discharge or affecting significant wetlands.
19 Challenge to Maps & VWR Rejected by Supreme Court Sec'y, Agency of Natural Res. v. Irish, 738 A.2d 571 Lake Bomoseen Ass'n v. Vermont Water Resources Bd., 886 A.2d 355, 
21 Wetlands Section Districts Full Staff is 5 DWE plus CoordinatorCoordinator handles program oversight, plus AOT and Ag projectsDistricts have 100+ projects/ yearDistrict Offices located in Barre, Essex and RutlandDistricts change over time and are unique to the Wetlands Program
22 Yearly Average Workload (2000-2006) Wetlands SectionYearly Average Workload ( )Regulation Enforcement Education MonitoringEducationPresentations 30EnforcementComplaints 68Violations 41Office and Field WorkPhone Calls 7206Field VisitsLettersRegulatoryCUD Applications 79CUD IssuedOn average, work is split up by 5 staff members
23 2004 Project Overview 512 New Projects 98 project carried over 88 CUDs received84 CUDs issued1 CUD denied1 CUD terminated< 20% of Projects result in a CUD
24 Wetlands Program Relationships CollaboratorsLand OwnersRealtorsBusinessesNon ProfitsDepartment of Fish and WildlifeDepartment of Forest Park and RecVTransBGSLakes and Ponds SectionTownsRegional Planning CommissionsClientsWater Resources PanelAct 250 CoordinatorsNongame Natural Heritage ProgramFish and Wildlife BiologistsStormwater SectionRivers SectionBASSLakes and Ponds SectionANR Planning SectionANR Enforcement SectionWastewater DivisionWater Supply DivisionTownsRegional Planning CommissionsDepartment of Forest, Parks and Rec
26 Project Referrals Do I have a jurisdictional wetland on my property? General knowledge of the VT Wetlands ProgramPermit SpecialistsReferrals from other Regulatory ProgramsComplaintsTown ReferralsConsultants and Engineers
30 How are Wetlands Identified in the Field? Manual: Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands.To be a wetland, the following three parameters must be present:HydrologySoilsVegetation
31 Field Work Presence or absence of wetland Jurisdictional determination of wetland classGeneral location of wetlandOptions for avoiding wetland/buffer impactsOptions for minimizing wetland/buffer impactsVerification of wetland delineationsDetermination of function and value of wetlandGeneral information on the importance of that wetland in the landscape
32 Contiguous WetlandsContiguous shall mean sharing a boundary or touching and shall include such situations where the water level of the wetland is directly influenced by the water level of the adjacent waterbody or wetland and where a man-made structure (e.g. roadway) divides a wetland, if surface water is able to flow over, under or through that structure.Vermont Wetland Rules, Section 2.07, page 2
33 Interpretation of Contiguous NOTE: The following guidelines may not pertain to every situation. ANR reserves the right to make contiguous determinations on specific projects within the parameters of the Vermont Wetland Rules and these guidelines.(1) There is a clear continuum of the three wetland parameters between the mapped wetland and the wetland in question.1a) b)
34 Interpretation of Contiguous (2) A wetland is divided by a man-made structure (e.g. ditch or roadway or other fill), where surface water is able to flow over, under or through that structure.
35 Vermont Significant Wetland Inventory Maps LimitationsMaps are not supposed to be used in lieu of a delineationMany Class Three’s not on map but can be significant for many functionsContiguous issue is confusing to the publicAdvantagesGives a general idea of the location of wetlandsMost of the wetlands that are mapped are significantCreates a jurisdictional threshold
39 Which Uses Require Conditional Use Determinations (CUD’s)? All uses in the wetland and buffer zonewhich are not allowed uses, are conditional uses
40 CUD EvaluationUse cannot result in undue, adverse impacts on protected wetland functions and valuesIf there is an undue adverse impact on protected functions it must be mitigated before a CUD could be issuedCumulative and on-going impacts must also be considered
42 Cumulative and On-going Impacts Impacts that are on-going such as stormwater, wastewater, human residence, etc.Case law suggests “cumulative” can include impacts to a wetland that occurred prior to the Vermont Wetland Rules (February 23, 1990),Allows a more holistic review of the wetland and previous impactsMay be more important in the future
43 Mitigation Avoidance: No practicable upland alternative Minimization: Reduction in wetland impactsRestoration: Restore/ replace impacted functionsCreation: Restore/ replace impacted functions through wetland creation
45 Informal Determinations by ANR become Formal Determinations RecommendationsInformal Determinations by ANR become Formal DeterminationsWhether an area is in fact a wetlandWetland boundary determinations, delineationsDetermination of wetland functions and valuesDetermination of size and configuration of the buffer zoneContiguity determinations
46 Recommendations The Agency recognizes the utility of the VSWI maps Rules could allow for ANR Process to update, correct, and improve the maps
47 Recommendations on Classification Class One Wetlands through Rule MakingClass Two are presumed “so significant”Class Three are wetlands found to be not significant after field evaluationUnmapped wetlands that are significant will become Class Two through an administrative ANR process
48 Recommendations on Rule Updates Thorough review and update of the Functions and Values sectionReview and update definitionsDevelop a clear standard of “Significant”Where do we set the Bar?
49 General CUD’s and Allowed Uses To filter out small, minimal impact projectsRoutine projects, such as utility line extensions, and highway improvementsRecognize program resources vs. increased jurisdiction
50 For additional information contact the State Wetlands Program ,