One of the biggest roles of our wetlands staff has been to navigate the waters of the wetlands permitting processes. Whether this is limited to a simple Request for Determination with the local Conservation Commission, or requires the involvement of the Army Corps of Engineers, we have had great success in this area.
If you have not been through this experience before, in brief, a typical project would require investigation by our experienced professionals for identification of potential wetland resource areas. If there are any areas identified as having the characteristics of such resource areas, our specialist would conduct soil sampling and plant mapping to determine if the areas are subject to the protection of the Wetlands Protection Act. If they are, we would delineate (flag) these areas, then survey them for use in project planning.
Once these have been indicated on a project’s site plan, the proponent may chose to file a Request for Determination with the Conservation Commission to determine whether or not the proposed work may impact these areas, or as a tool to “bless” the mapping for use in future planning. If it is determined that impacts may be likely, the proponent proceeds to file a Notice of Intent. In many cases, the proponent would file a Notice of Intent at the start. Notices of Intent are reviewed by the Department of Environmental Protection as well as the local Conservation Commission. In some cases, recommendations may be made to involve the Army Corps of Engineers or the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.
Upon reaching an agreement with the reviewing parties, an Order of Conditions is issued which makes reference to submitted plans, outlines the terms for prevention of erosion and sedimentation and frequently stipulates a time frame during which the work must be performed. This is recorded at the Registry of Deeds and is tied to the subject property. Upon completion of the project, the proponent returns to the Commission for a Certificate of Compliance, stating that the work has been completed in conformance with the permitted plans and specified conditions.
It is best that we are involved throughout the duration of the project to assist in mapping and permitting and to ensure that construction progresses as planned in hopes of obtaining the Certificate of Compliance which, essentially removes the encumbrance from the subject property.