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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Wetlands Bureau Rulemaking and Process Improvement Effort
fresh water wetland The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) has initiated a significant, multi-year effort to improve the technical standards as well as the operation and decision-making processes used by the Wetlands Bureau (referred to as the "Wetlands Program Rule making and Process Improvement Effort") Check this page often for new information, draft materials, scheduled outreach events, and to provide comments and ideas!

Goals and Overall Schedule

The last complete re-write of the wetlands rules was back in 1991. Since then there have been many piecemeal changes in the laws and rules and much advancement in our understanding of our natural systems and better engineering practices. Over the years the collection of different application and notification forms and our procedures also have become complicated and confusing. This effort will address those issues as well as enhance transparency and predictability, increase consistency and standardization, and ensure scientifically-based decisions that protect New Hampshire's sensitive and important natural resources.

Given the magnitude and significance of this major overhaul of the Wetland Program rules and procedures, the Department knows that it will require a substantial amount of time to do well and provide the necessary amount of discussion with stakeholders and the public. Given the extensive research and significant number of public comments that have been received, the schedule has been revised as shown below. Because the mitigation rules, Env Wt 800 are scheduled to expire in June, 2015, NHDES will move forward with these rules separately from the major Wetlands Rules Rewrite. NHDES will be setting up Stakeholder Workgroups this spring to address the major topics, please revisit this site to see the scheduling of these meetings.

Public Outreach and Listening Sessions

We are committed to working closely with our partner organizations, stakeholders, and concerned citizens during this project and we strive to maintain an open dialogue to ensure that we identify the best possible strategies to achieve our goals. There are a number of ways you can engage with the Department during this effort:

Research and Technical Information

As part of this effort, NHDES staff are conducting research on a variety of topics related to:

  • How to Achieve the Overarching Goals for the Wetlands Program
  • The Permitting Process:  Redesigning the Path to Approval and Other Procedures
  • Using Better Information and Clearer Evaluation Standards for Improved Outcomes
  • Specific Topics and Technical Design Standards
    • General Requirements (e.g., stormwater management)
    • Specific Requirements for Certain Resource Areas (e.g., coastal, rivers, shorelines)
    • Specific Requirements for Certain Activities (e.g., forestry, bank stabilization, use of Best Management Practices (BMP) Manuals)
  • List of Topics by Staff Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol

Specifically, NHDES staff are looking into how other states and federal agencies address specific issues, reviewing current research and professional literature, and evaluating ideas from within and outside the Department.  The Discussion Guide Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbolprovides a broad overview of the topics and ideas under evaluation. The List of Topics by Staff Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbolidentifies the specific technical staff person conducting the initial research on each topic. Please feel free to contact these staff if you have information to share or a comment relevant to their specific topic. Alternatively, you may use the Submit a Comment Tool.

If you would like more information on the Wetlands Program Rulemaking and Process Improvement Effort please contact Collis Adams, Wetlands Bureau Administrator at (603) 271-4054 or or Mary Ann Tilton, Assistant Wetlands Bureau Administrator at (603) 271-2929 or



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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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