Maintaining Wetlands & Floodplains
WetlandsLegally the term "wetland" includes not only areas we typically think of as wetland, such as salt and cattail marshes, but also intermittent streams and other areas that may appear dry for a portion of the year. Activities in or near "bordering vegetated wetlands (BVWs) - marshes, swamps, and bogs adjacent to water bodies and coastal beaches are regulated. Floodplains, banks, dunes, beaches, tidal flats, banks of and land under rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds; and a 200 foot wide riverfront area on both sides of perennial rivers are also protected. Technical definitions are found in the law and its accompanying regulations (310 CMR 10) as well as the Cohasset Wetlands Bylaw and Regulations.
The Conservation Commission usually has jurisdiction 100 feet from the edge of a resource area. The first 50 feet from the resource area is the inner buffer zone or the "no touch" zone, and the remaining 50 feet is the outer buffer zone. The exceptions are vernal pools, isolated land subject to flooding, and isolated vegetated wetlands. These have a 25 foot buffer zone as defined in the Cohasset Wetlands Bylaw and Regulations. The 100 year floodplain does not have a buffer zone.