Agriculture and Forestry

Agricultural Functions of Department of Environmental Management

Freshwater Wetlands

SECTION 2-1-20

§ 2-1-20. Definitions.

As used in this chapter;

(1) "Area subject to flooding" shall include, but not be limited to, low-lying areas that collect, hold, or meter out storm and flood waters from any of the following: rivers, streams, intermittent streams, or areas subject to storm flowage.

(2) "Area subject to storm flowage" includes drainage swales and channels that lead into, out of, pass through, or connect other freshwater wetlands or coastal wetlands, and that carry flows resulting from storm events, but may remain relatively dry at other times.

(3) "Bog" means a place where standing or slowly running water is near or at the surface during normal growing season and/or where a vegetational community has over fifty percent (50%) of the ground or water surface covered with sphagnum moss (Sphagnum) and/or where the vegetational community is made up of one or more of, but not limited to nor necessarily including all of, the following: blueberries, and cranberry (Vaccinium), leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata), pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea), sundews (Droseraceae), orchids (Orchidaceae), white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), red maple (Acer rubrum), black spruce (Picae mariana), bog aster (Aster nemoralis), larch (Laris laricina), bogrosemary (Andromeda glaucophylla), azaleas (Rhododendron), laurels (Kalmia), sedges (Caryx), and bog cotton (Eriophorum).

(4) "Buffer" means an area of undeveloped vegetated land adjacent to a freshwater wetland that is to be retained in its natural undisturbed condition, or is to be created to resemble a naturally occurring vegetated area.

(5) "Department" means the department of environmental management (DEM).

(6) "Director" means the director of the department of environmental management or his or her duly authorized agent or agents.

(7) "Floodplain" means that land area adjacent to a river or stream or other body of flowing water which is, on the average, likely to be covered with flood waters resulting from a one-hundred (100) year frequency storm. A "one-hundred (100) year frequency storm" is one that is to be expected to be equaled or exceeded once in one hundred (100) years; or may be said to have a one percent (1%) probability of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.

(8) "Freshwater wetlands" includes, but is not limited to, those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration to support, and that under normal circumstances do support a prevalence of vegetation adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Freshwater wetlands includes, but is not limited to: marshes, swamps, bogs, emergent, and submergent plant communities, and for the purposes of this chapter, rivers, streams, ponds, and vernal pools.

(9) "Jurisdictional area" means the following lands and waters, as defined herein except as provided for in § 2-1-22(k), that shall be subject to regulation under this chapter:

(i) Freshwater wetlands;

(ii) Buffers;

(iii) Floodplains;

(iv) Areas subject to storm flowage;

(v) Areas subject to flooding; and

(vi) Contiguous areas that extend outward:

(A) Two hundred feet (200') from the edge of a river or stream;

(B) Two hundred feet (200') from the edge of a drinking water supply reservoir; and

(C) One hundred feet (100') from the edge of all other freshwater wetlands.

(10) "Marsh" means a place wholly or partly within the state where a vegetational community exists in standing or running water during the growing season and/or is made up of one or more of, but not limited to nor necessarily including all of, the following plants or groups of plants: hydrophytic reeds (Phragmites), grasses (Cramineae), mannagrasses (Glyceria), cutgrasses (Leersia), pickerelwoods (Pontederiaceae), sedges (Cyperaceae), rushes (Juncaceae), cattails (Typha), water plantains (Alismataceae), bur-reeds (Sparganiazceae), pondweeds (Zosteraceae), frog's bits (Hydrocharitaceae), arums (Araceae), duckweeds (Lemmaceae), water lilies (Nymphaeceae), water-milfoils (Haloragaceae), water-starworts (Callitrichaeceae), bladder-worts (Utricularia), pipeworts (Eriocaulon), sweet gale (Myrica gale), and buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis).

(11) "Near or at the surface" mean within eighteen (18) inches of the surface.

(12) "Pond" means a place natural or man-made, wholly or partly within the state, where open-standing or slowly moving water is present for at least six (6) months a year.

(13) "River" means a body of water designated as a perennial stream by the United States Department of Interior geologic survey on 7.5 minute series topographic maps and that is not a pond as defined in this section.

(14) "Setback" means the minimum distance from the edge of a freshwater wetland at which an approved activity or alteration may take place.

(15) "Stream" means any flowing body of water or watercourse that flows long enough each year to develop and maintain a channel and that may carry groundwater discharge or surface runoff.

(16) "Swamp" means a place, wholly or partly within the state, where ground water is near or at the surface of the ground for a significant part of the growing season or runoff water from surface drainage collects frequently and/or where a vegetational community is made up of a significant portion of one or more of, but not limited to nor necessarily including all of, the following: red maple (Acer rubum), elm (Ulmus americana), black spruce (Picea mariana), white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), ashes (Fraximus), poison sumac (Rhus vernix), larch (Larix laricina), spice bush (Lindera benzoin), alders (Alnus), skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), hellebore (Veratrum viride), hemlock (Thuja canadensis), sphagnums (Sphagnum), azaleas (Rhododendron), black alder (Ilex verticillata), coast pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia), marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), blueberries (Vaccinium), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), willow (Salicaceae), water willow (Decodon verticillatus), tupelo (Nyssa sylbatica), laurels (Kalmia), swamp white oak (Quercus biscolor), or species indicative of marsh.

(17) "Vernal pool" means a depressional wetland basin that typically goes dry in most years and may contain inlets or outlets, typically of intermittent flow. Vernal pools range in both size and depth depending upon landscape position and parent materials. Vernal pools usually support one or more of the following obligate indicator species: wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus), spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum), marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum), and fairy shrimp (Eubranchipus spp.) and typically preclude sustainable populations of predatory fish.

History of Section.
(G.L. 1956, § 2-1-20; P.L. 1971, ch. 213, § 1; P.L. 1974, ch. 197, § 2; P.L. 1979, ch. 20, § 1; P.L. 2015, ch. 218, § 1.)