Did you know that the Vermont Wetland Rules offer extra protection to some of the state’s most important and valuable wetlands? This extra protection comes in the form of a Class I designation – bestowed only on the most exemplary of the wetlands in the state. The existing Class I-designated wetlands include Dorset Marsh, a shrub marsh in Dorset; Northshore Wetland, an emergent marsh and floodplain forest complex in Burlington; and Tinmouth Channel, a large wetland complex in Tinmouth. The Agency of Natural Resources has initiated rulemaking to add four more exemplary wetlands to this list. The four wetlands vary in size, region, and function but all have been determined to be irreplaceable or exceptional in their contribution to Vermont’s natural heritage. These wetlands include the Black Gum Swamps in Vernon, Dennis Pond Wetlands in Brunswick, Chickering Fen in Calais, and Sandbar Wetlands in Milton and Colchester. An interactive web tour of the four wetlands in rulemaking and three that are already designated as class I can be found here.
If you think one of your local wetlands deserves Class I status, you may petition the Wetlands Program. Some towns are already considering reclassification petitions, and your town may be one of those which supports a potential Class I wetland! Click here for more information on petitioning wetlands for Class I status.