Information about Wetlands

What are watercourses and wetlands?

Watercourses are defined as rivers, streams, brooks, waterways, lakes, ponds, marshes, swamps, bogs and all other bodies of water, natural or artificial, vernal or intermittent, public or private.

Wetlands means land which consists of any of the soil types designated as poorly drained, very poorly drained, alluvial and floodplain by the National Cooperative Soils Survey.  This may include filled, graded or excavated sites as well as wetlands which may not be wet year-round.

Why are wetlands important?

We depend on wetlands for:

  • Water quality protection
  • Water recharge to aquifers
  • Flood and drought protection
  • Shoreline anchoring and stabilization
  • Sediment trapping and nutrient retention
  • Fish and wildlife habitat
  • Nursery grounds for fish and nutrients essential to animals
  • Release of oxygen through photosynthesis
  • Transforming air pollutant
  • Active and passive recreation

Who regulates activities affecting wetlands and watercourses?

Regulatory standards are set by the State of Connecticut.  Local administration of the regulations is the responsibility of the Commission.  Fresh water wetlands may also be regulated by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the CT DEEP (Department of Energy & Environmental Protection).

How do I know if there are wetlands on my property?

Wetlands are determined by soil type and not always possible to identify by sight.  The Wetlands Enforcement Officer may be able to advise you from a review of maps and records.  If wetlands exist on your property, any work planned may require a permit, even if the work site is a considerable distance from the wetlands.

What can I do if I see a violation?

Call the Wetlands Office and speak with the Enforcement Officer.  Detailed information, including the address and the activity, is appreciated.