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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Wetlands Bureau DRAFT Rulemaking Archive Page
Notice: This is an archived page as of 10/30/18, and therefore not up to date. For the most recent information on rulemaking, visit the Wetlands Bureau Rulemaking and Process Improvement Effort webpage.

Current Status

NHDES released draft wetlands rules on January 31, 2018. Comments were received between January 31 and the comment deadline of April 20, 2018. They were gathered by phone, email, mail, through our online comment collector, and at five public input sessions hosted by NHDES in Concord, Portsmouth, Laconia, Keene and Lancaster. After the public comment session, there were 9 public meetings of the Wetlands Stakeholder Workgroup to review the comments between May 23 and Sept. 19, 2018.


The last complete rewrite of the wetlands rules occurred in 1991, and since then there have been intermittent changes. As part of this major rules overhaul, NHDES worked closely with our partner organizations, stakeholders and concerned citizens to obtain significant public feedback on the development of wetland rule concepts, strategies and process. Since 2014, NHDES hosted over 100 listening sessions, stakeholder workgroup sessions, partner meetings and presentations. NHDES heard from landowners, road agents, utility providers, loggers, foresters, engineers, conservation commissioners, industry and business, septic designers, general contractors, wetland scientists, conservation organizations, regional planning commissions, marine contractors, legislators, teachers, local, state, and federal officials, and, between 2014 and 2018, we received over 400 public comments.

The draft wetland rules propose over 50 new definitions to provide clarity and consistency, shorten the review time for lower scrutiny approvals and expand the number of projects that qualify for streamlined review, including stream crossing projects. An important goal with the new rules was to clarify: what activities require a permit and what type of permit authorization is needed; project classification; standard conditions; avoidance, minimization and mitigation requirements; review standards; and project specific standards. The draft rules also provide updates to the prime wetlands rules and requirements for stream crossings.

Past Public Sessions

NHDES Public Input Session Presentations

DRAFT Wetlands Administrative Rules



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