NHDES is seeking public comments on its DRAFT Wetlands Administrative Rules. The last complete rewrite of the wetlands rules occurred in 1991, and since then there have been intermittent changes. As part of this major rules overhaul, NHDES worked closely with our partner organizations, stakeholders and concerned citizens to obtain significant public feedback on the development of wetland rule concepts, strategies and process. Since 2014, NHDES hosted over 100 listening sessions, stakeholder workgroup sessions, partner meetings and presentations. NHDES heard from landowners, road agents, utility providers, loggers, foresters, engineers, conservation commissioners, industry and business, septic designers, general contractors, wetland scientists, conservation organizations, regional planning commissions, marine contractors, legislators, teachers, local, state, and federal officials, and, to date, we have received over 400 public comments.
The draft wetland rules propose over 50 new definitions to provide clarity and consistency, shorten the review time for lower scrutiny approvals and expand the number of projects that qualify for streamlined review, including stream crossing projects. An important goal with the new rules was to clarify: what activities require a permit and what type of permit authorization is needed; project classification; standard conditions; avoidance, minimization and mitigation requirements; review standards; and project specific standards. The draft rules also provide updates to the prime wetlands rules and requirements for stream crossings.
NHDES is excited to receive your comments on the DRAFT Wetland Rules. NHDES will host 5 public input sessions in Concord, Portsmouth, Laconia, Keene and Lancaster. The public comment deadline is April 20, 2018.
Written comments can be provided by either using the Comment Collection Forms or the comment collector tool. You may also mail your comments to Attention: Mary Ann Tilton, 29 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03302 or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. When sending email comments, please be sure to include “2018 Wetland Rule Comments” in the subject line of your email.
To get the gist in a jiffy, check out the NHDES Wetlands Bureau Draft Rules Update FAQs.