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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 been engaged in a significant, multi-year initiative to improve the technical review standards as well as the operation and decision-making processes used by the NHDES Wetlands Bureau (referred to as the "Wetlands Program Rule Making and Process Improvement Effort"). Check this page often for new information, draft administrative rules, new and draft BMP manuals, scheduled public input sessions and events, and to provide comments and ideas!

Goals and Overall Schedule

NHDES is seeking public comments on its DRAFT Wetlands Administrative Rules. 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, to date, we have received over 400 public comments.

List of Stakeholder Meetings Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol

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.

NHDES is excited to receive your comments on the DRAFT Wetland Rules. NHDES will host 5 public input sessions in Concord, Portsmouth, Laconia, Keene and Lancaster. The public comment deadline is April 20, 2018.

Public Outreach and Listening Sessions

NHDES is committed to continuing our dialogue with stakeholders. Please attend a scheduled Public Input Session and/or provide written comments.

Written comments can be provided by either using the Comment Collection Forms or the comment collector tool below. You may also mail your comments to Attention: Mary Ann Tilton, 29 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03302 or email to: When sending email comments, please be sure to include "2018 Wetland Rule Comments" in the subject line of your email.

DRAFT Wetlands Administrative Rules

DRAFT Best Management Practices (BMP) Manuals

Frequently Asked Questions



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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

copyright 2017. State of New Hampshire