Ever wonder where the wetlands are in your town?
Finding them has just gotten easier. The Agency of Natural Resources Wetland Advisory Layer has been updated within the Missisquoi Basin thanks to funding by the U.S. EPA. The area of palustrine wetlands in the basin mapped on the advisory layer is now 27,836 acres, and is much improved in its accuracy. The National Wetlands Inventory will be updated soon with the changes, including riverine (rivers and streams) and lacustrine (lake) systems. While the advisory layer is non-jurisdictional* it is still a helpful planning tool.
Most wetlands and their fifty-foot buffer zones are protected by the state. If you have a project planned near or in a wetland, you should contact the Wetlands Program to see if you can proceed with a permit, or get help finding a way to avoid the resource. Maps are a good place to start to find out if there are protected wetlands in your area using the Vermont Significant Wetlands Inventory (VSWI), but not all wetlands that are protected are shown on the maps.
Why aren’t all wetlands mapped by the state already?
The Agency does not have property access to all lands in Vermont, and wetland boundaries can change over time. Given there are over 300,000 acres of wetland remaining in Vermont (35% was lost prior to 1980), that’s a lot to map! We do our best by using the latest technology to estimate their locations. If you have a soggy area which isn’t on a wetland advisory or Vermont Significant Wetlands Inventory map, you may still have a wetland that is protected by the state or federal entity. See our landowners guide for more clues on finding wetlands. Only a wetland scientist can determine the presence/absence or boundaries of a wetland. You can contact the Wetlands Program for help.
What areas have new maps?
Towns in Franklin and Orleans County, including the towns of
Sheldon, Fairfield, Enosburg, Bakersfield, Richford, Jay, Westfield, Troy, and parts of Highgate, Swanton, St. Albans Town, Franklin, Fletcher, Berkshire, Belvidere, Montgomery, Lowell, and Newport Town.
*Class I and Class II wetlands and their buffer zones are protected and any activity within those protected areas which is not an allowed use needs a wetland permit. The Vermont Significant Wetlands Inventory indicates what wetlands are Class I and Class II, but many are not on the map. The advisory layer includes areas which are highly likely to be wetland but does not indicate which wetlands are officially protected by the state.