New England Construction
SPECIAL
POINTS OF IN-
TEREST:
                               Construction and the Environment
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                               wise.                           prepared by someone
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VOLUME         1,   ISSUE         1                                                                                PAGE   ...
About Us:

                                                 New England Construction and The Environment
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NE Construction & Environment

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Caspian Associates blog/newsletter, New England Construction and the Environment is focused on issues facing site development in New England. This issue focuses on identifying the wetland types of Massachusetts.

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NE Construction & Environment

  1. 1. New England Construction SPECIAL POINTS OF IN- TEREST: Construction and the Environment V O L U M E 1 , I S S U E 1 M A R C H 1 8 , 2 0 1 0 Vernal Pools must Comprehending Mass. Wetlands be free of fish. Land Subject to Flooding is deter- mined through sur- vey and engineering calculations. Massachusetts takes its Plus, let’s face it, you have around water in Massachu- rivers, vernal pools, wet- better things to do than setts . It will also serve as guide Salt Marsh is deter- mined by the height lands and coastal banks remember the difference for those twisting morning- of the Spring Tide seriously. Unless one if between a stream and a after-the-hearing briefings. Event familiar with the conserva- river, a certified vernal As always, your comments and Buffer zone, no- tion definitions and knows pool vs. a functioning ver- opinions are welcome. Please disturb zones and no what words not to utter nal pool and what can be email them to - build zones are not the same. (“fill” comes to mind..) one done in what area of what NECE@caspianassociates.com is all but guaranteed to end buffer zone on a Tuesday. to enter the discussion. up with an unpleasant let- Ok, that last part was ter DEP or the Conserva- made up, but not by much. tion Commission. This issue of NECE will INSIDE THIS This stuff is not easy and discuss what you need to ISSUE: seems to change every day. know about working Vernal Pools 2 Vernal Pools. Continued next page... Wetlands 2 Coastal 2 Wetlands Vernal pools are large pud- 1. They are temporary by In the real world interpreta- Natural 3 dles that appear with the having water at least 2 tion is more loose. Vernal Heritage spring or fall rains. Vernal months of the year. pools are increasingly al- pools appear insignificant, 2. They are without adult lowed to have an inlet or Home Rule 3 yet for the site developer fish populations. outlet, are no longer re- carry a great risk for land 3. They are an enclosed quired to run dry and must About NECE 4 loss, have almost no per- basin within another be proven free of predatory Set back 4 formance standards, impact the boundaries of a fish populations. Cheat Sheet site design and push pro- defined wetland re- ject budget. Vernal pools source area. To complicate the require- are also a top buzz word ments, most municipalities tossed flippantly to stall have wetland bylaws that public hearing proceedings independently define ver- and force environmental nal pools. The definitions studies. range from the clearly de- fined to the assumption So what are these pools? In every wet area is a vernal short: pool until proven other-
  2. 2. PAGE 2 wise. prepared by someone with extensive exper- So how does a site devel- tise in vernal pool oper plan for this? ecology. These find- ings must be able to 1. Be proactive. Find withstand scientific out early if there is a peer review. possible vernal pool 3. Gain a working on the site. Spring is knowledge of State the best time to make and Municipal regu- Following these five and get signoff on lations, policies and points can make the dif- vernal pool determi- real– world practices. ference in reducing pro- nations. Have deter- 4. Formulate a strategy ject expenditures, speed- Wild Calla minations be con- before the design ing up permitting times ducted by a private phase. and providing a permit sector consultant. 5. Keep the lines of for the desired project. 2. Require that a formal communication open. findings document be Ask questions. “Following these five points Wetlands Land Subject to plain, it is not the same can make the Flooding: as floodplain. In Massachusetts, there Isolated (ILSF): An en- None of the Above difference..” are different categories closed basin that tempo- Sometimes wetlands pre- of wetland: rarily stores high ground- sent as isolated features, Bordering Vegetated water or runoff. It may but do not meet the ILSF Wetland: function as, but is not threshold. They are necessarily a vernal pool. wetlands, but do not fit Bordering Vegetated Breaking the threshold current regulatory cate- Wetlands (or BVW) are Erosion Control and Drainage for this determination is determined through indi- gory. In these situations, made through specific one must assess how cators of wetland vegeta- survey and engineering much fight/cost is avail- tion, hydric soils and hy- calculations. able to be put into the drology. They have a 100 foot buffer zone un- Isolated Land subject to process (in terms of Pro- der the State regulations. flooding does not have a cedural risk vs. Violation This is not a No– Dis- 100 foot buffer zone. risk.) While Local and turb zone, but an area Bordering:( BLSF): Tempo- State regulators will fight where proposed activi- rary water storage from arguments of non- ties require formal re- an overtopping of a jurisdictional status, the view and a permit. Mu- pond, lake or water- site developers have nicipalities often have course. Though it may been known to win on more stringent rules. overlap FEMA Flood- point of law. NEW ENGLAND CONSTRUC TION
  3. 3. VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 PAGE 3 Common Coastal Wetlands Salt Marsh: is a wetland Barrier Beaches: are strips of Coastal Dune: is a forma- area that is delineated up land indicated by the pres- tion of sediment land- ward of a coastal beach. to the highest tide line (ofence of coastal beach and The designation of a dune the 14 day Spring Tide cy- coastal dunes that run paral- as a Primary Dune is cle) . lel to the coast. There is a often contested. Coastal Bank: is the sea- body of water that separates ward edge of a landform the land from the mainland Coastal wetlands are different. and is determined by a cu- at one or two terminal rious DEP guidance involv- points. Coastal wetland resources ing changes in bank incline are different from their relative to flood zones and freshwater cousins. Mean High Water. Coastal Dunes Natural Heritage Program: NHESP Coastal Bank is determined by a curious Though not a wetland type The Natural Heritage and coincide with a Conservation DEP guidance this application process is Endangered Species Program permit application, many do worthy of inclusion. (NHESP) is determined not. Projects that are pro- involving through pre-existing mapped posed within mapped areas changes in polygons of habitat known as (wetland or not) must un- bank incline Priority Habitat and Esti- dergo a NHESP review, mated Habitat. unless the project meets one relative to While many polygons are of the NHESP listed exemp- flood zones . within wetland areas and tions (such as septic repair in lawn.) Home Rule: Local Bylaws, Regulations and Policies 5. Policies. Most munici- While trying to architect a vernal pool and/or other repairs. Structures such palities have policies (in project that meets the re- wetlands. as additions or decks are addition to bylaws and quirements of both the State 2. No -disturb zones. not permitted (unless a regulations). Some poli- and municipal regulations can These areas are off limits waiver is requested). cies are written, some be a challenge, certain mu- are not. for any work (unless a nicipal conservation require- waiver is requested). 4. Local application forms Keeping these things in ments can be expected: and separate filing fees. 3. No build zones. These mind when considering a 1. The provision of an inde- areas are for projects project can avoid head- pendent definition of like landscaping or septic aches.
  4. 4. About Us: New England Construction and The Environment Plan Wisely. (NECE) focuses on the issues that impact site de- velopment Blog subscriptions may be found at: Shrewsbury, MA www.caspianassociates.com North Andover, MA Caspian Associates is a construction services firm Harrison, ME supplying engineering (civil and geotechnical), en- Contact vironmental consulting, permit acquisition and con- Phone: 508. 792. 1121 struction management services to New England. Fax: 508. 757.0384 Comments and opinions are welcome. Send to: E-mail: NECE@caspianassociates.com General: Info@Caspianassociates.com Newsletter: NECE@Caspianassociates.com Conservation Buffer Zone Cheat Sheet: DEP Wetland Type 100’ Buffer Zone 200’ Riverfront Other: Notes Bordering wetland X Flooded: Isolated No Buffer Zone Flooded: Bordering X Vernal Pool 100’ or at the limit of the enclosing resource area. Rivers X Intermittent Stream X Salt Marsh X Coastal Bank X FEMA Floodplain No Buffer Zone

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