WETLAND DELINEATION AND PERMITTING
Wetland Delineation is typically an initial phase in evaluating your site or project, whether it be a single-family home addition or a complex commercial, residential or utility development. Early attention to potential constraints such as wetlands streamlines the timeline and economics of a project. Oxbow critically evaluates each wetland delineation, large or small, to maximize project options and land values. We understand that land values are too high in our region to not provide Clients their best options from the outset of planning. Even a seemingly small oversight during a wetland delineation can lead to significant constraints – and disappointments – as the project develops.
The extra care and attention we give to your project is justified and necessary. State, federal and local delineation criteria may need to be applied to your project site; Oxbow will evaluate which parameters apply and implement the appropriate methods.
Notice of Intent (NOI) Preparation and Representation
The Notice of Intent is the most commonly filed application for wetland regulatory review in Massachusetts. Most projects close to wetlands, rivers, ponds or in coastal areas require the filing of a NOI. Oxbow carefully considers the applicable regulations and provides a thorough permit package submittal and competent representation to maximize your property or project value.
Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation (ANRAD)
Oxbow can delineate wetlands on your property and if planning is dependent on the critical extent of wetlands, we recommend preparing an ANRAD prior to undertaking detailed site planning. This review can “lock in” your wetland boundaries for a period of at least three years providing surety in your site design. This is typically for larger or more complex projects.
Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA)
Under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act a Request for Determination of Applicability is a formal request to determine whether or not work on a property requires full permitting (e.g., a NOI). This application is more expeditious and less expensive than a NOI. If your project is likely to qualify for this reduced form of environmental review, Oxbow will advise you and prepare the documents for that application.
Wetland Replication – Design and Oversite
For projects resulting in the filling or altering of regulated wetlands Wetland Replication is typically required under state, local and federal regulations. Oxbow provides practical wetland replication design and provides oversight and compliance monitoring where wetlands must be replaced, or replicated for project compliance. (See also Section 401 and Section 404 permitting)
Site Constraints Assessment
Before a client invests substantial resources in a prospective site or project Oxbow can conduct a constraints analysis factoring in features such as wetlands, floodplain and soils characteristics that can provide a rapid preliminary assessment of site attributes that will guide an evaluation of the useable area of a site and a likely configuration of that area. Once a site has passed this threshold a client can be more confident in investing resources in the pursuit of a project.
Certificates of Compliance
Once a wetlands permit for a NOI is obtained – known as an Order of Conditions – a Certificate of Compliance must be obtained in order to close out the permit and free the property’s deed. Oxbow provides evaluation for permit compliance and requests for a Certificate of Compliance from the local authority or Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
401 Water Quality Certification
Projects that result in filling or altering of regulated wetlands may, in addition to an Order of Conditions, require a “Water Quality Certification”. This approval is a federal requirement, implemented by the Commonwealth, intended to enforce the “no net loss” of wetlands requirement. Oxbow will determine whether your project requires this certification and will prepare the necessary written request to obtain approval in step with your other permit requirements.
Larger commercial and residential projects that are built-out over months, or longer, often require periodic monitoring for compliance with the environmental permits. Oxbow provides periodic oversite and reporting to assure projects remain compliant with their regulatory obligations and are therefore prepared to receive a Certificate of Compliance at, or before completion. This service requires working with the contractor and the reviewing authority (Conservation Commission or DEP for Enforcement Remediation) to ensure the project proceeds on schedule while the Commission is confident the construction remains in compliance. As is often required under state or local permits, Oxbow works with contractors to provide construction monitoring to minimize risk to rare species.
Properties where there is a Beach, a Dune, a Coastal Bank or Salt Marsh within or near the proposed work require permitting under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act Coastal Regulations (and possibly local bylaw or federal jurisdiction). Oxbow provides assessment and compliance guidance in the preparation of a NOI or other permits for projects requiring coastal permitting.
Wetlands Protection Bylaws and Ordinances
Many municipalities have wetlands protection bylaws or wetlands ordinances that regulate wetlands and buffer zones in addition to state and federal wetlands regulations. These local requirements typically have more stringent requirements and may regulate areas beyond those regulated under state and federal statutes. Oxbow’s staff carefully reviews projects for compliance with the locally enforced municipal bylaws and ordinances regulating wetlands.
Section 404 – Clean Waters Act
If your project diverts or impounds water flow or alters more than 5,000 square feet of wetland (in New England or Northeast District) a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers may be required in addition to state review under the Wetlands Protection Act. Oxbow will prepare your 404 Application in combination with state and local permitting for an efficient, linear permitting process.