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Freshwater Wetlands Permits

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ARTICLE 24, ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION LAW
IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS-
6NYCRR PART 663, Part 664, and Part 665

Freshwater wetlands are lands and submerged lands, commonly called marshes, swamps, sloughs, bogs, and flats, supporting aquatic or semi-aquatic vegetation. These ecological areas are valuable resources, necessary for flood control, surface and ground water protection, wildlife habitat, open space, and water resources. Freshwater wetlands also provide opportunities for recreation, education and research, and aesthetic appreciation. Adjacent areas may share some of these values and in addition, provide a valuable buffer for the wetlands.

The Department has classified regulated freshwater wetlands according to their respective functions, values and benefits. Wetlands may be Class I, II, III or IV. Class I wetlands are the most valuable and are subject to the most stringent standards.

Certain human activities can adversely affect, even destroy the delicate ecological balance in these important areas. The policy of New York State; set forth in the Freshwater Wetlands Act, is to preserve and protect the benefits that wetlands provide.

The Department of Environmental Conservation was charged with implementing this policy through its Freshwater Wetlands Regulatory Program. Intended to prevent despoliation and destruction of freshwater wetlands, these regulations were designed to:

  • preserve, protect, and enhance the present and potential values of wetlands;
  • protect the public health and welfare; and
  • be consistent with the reasonable economic and social development of the state.

Wetlands are Mapped

The Freshwater Wetlands Act requires the DEC to map all protected wetlands, with the exception of the Adirondack Park Region which is mapped by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). Mapping is done in order to identify those wetlands that meet the limits set forth in the law, and to provide a way by which affected landowners can be notified that a particular wetland is protected. A tentative wetlands map for a county is prepared using a variety of techniques and sources. Then landowners whose property may contain protected wetlands or adjacent areas are notified of a public hearing to be held on the accuracy of the maps. All comments received from the hearing are then considered before the map is officially filed with the clerks of all local governments.

Wetland boundaries are likely to change over time, and the law provides for amending the maps to reflect these changes. However, any changes are subject to due process of law and require public hearing after proper notification to all affected landowners.

Official freshwater wetlands maps showing the locations of New York's wetlands are on file at DEC regional offices, the APA, and local government offices.

The Environmental Resource Mapper (ERM), a new web based interactive mapping application developed by DEC, can be used to locate freshwater wetlands regulated by the State of New York. ERM can also be used to create simple maps that can be submitted as part of the Freshwater Permit Application process.


More about Freshwater Wetlands Permits:

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  • NYS DEC
    Division of Environmental Permits
    4th Floor
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-1750
    518-402-9167
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