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Green Community
Conservation Commission FAQs
Q: When would I ever need a wetlands permit?

A: Any activity within wetlands, or within the Upland Review Area-75' from wetlands or 100' from a watercourse-requires a permit.  For homeowners, this often means a shed or an addition to the house.   For activities within the Upland Review Area which will have only a minimal wetlands impact there is an expedited administrative process for issuance of permits.  For activities which affect wetlands directly the Conservation Commission must issue the permit.  Clearcutting-which is cutting all of the trees in an area-also requires a permit.

Q: What are wetlands?

A: Wetlands are defined as .Land, including submerged land, not regulated pursuant to sections 22a-28 through 22a-35, inclusive of the Connecticut General Statues, which consists of any of the soil types designated as poorly drained, very poorly drained, alluvial and floodplain by the national cooperative soils survey, as may be amended from time to time, of the National Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. Such areas may include filled, graded, or excavated sites which possess aquic (saturated) soil moisture regime as defined by the USDA Cooperative
Soil Survey

Q: What is a Watercourse?

A: Rivers, streams, brooks, waterways, lakes, ponds, marshes, swamps, bogs and all other bodies of water, natural or artificial, vernal or intermittent, public or private, which are contained within, flow through or border this state or portion thereof, not regulated pursuant to Sections 22a-22a35, inclusive of the Connecticut General Statutes. Intermittent watercourses shall be delineated by a defined permanent channel and bank and the occurrence of two or more of the following characteristics: (A) evidence of scour or deposits of recent alluvium or detritus, (B) the presence of standing or flowing water for a duration longer than a particular storm incident, and (C) the presence of hydrophytic vegetation.

Q: I need to replace my septic system and the system is within a wetland buffer, do I need a wetlands permit?

A: Yes, anytime you are working in the regulated area, no matter what you are doing, you will need a wetlands permit.  

Q: What types of wetland permits are available?

A: There are two types of wetlands permits that are offered. The first is called an administrative permit. This permit is approved on the basis that the Wetlands Enforcement Officer deems the regulated activity to have a minimal impact. This permit application is an expedited process to help the flow of applications move along. The second is a permit that is brought before the Conservation Commission. This is for projects that at a large scale, that are deemed to have a potential
for significant impact to the wetland system. There are two different fees that are associated with each permit.

Q: What is a Conservation Easement?

A: A Conservation Easement is a deeded restriction on your property. The idea behind it is to provide additional protection a sensitive area. The protected area is to be left in its natural state with no structures, clear-cutting or motor vehicles. A homeowner may obtain permission from the Wetlands Enforcement Officer to remove selected trees for safety or aesthetics.

Q: How do I know if there are wetlands on my property?
A: The burden is on the applicant to prove whether or not there are wetlands on their property, however a GIS printout is available from the Code Administration office for a fee of $1.00. Furthermore the town has a Wetland Soils Map posted in the Code Administration Office & in the Town Clerks Office.

Note: The GIS maps are for reference only; true wetland delineation by Certified Soil Scientist is the only sure thing.

Q: Where can I find out about the wetland regulations?

A: On the Town of Colchester Planning and Zoning Website or copies are available for purchase at the Code Administration office for $8.00.

Q: Where can I get information about the Conservation Commission Meetings?

A: The agendas are posted at the Town Clerk.s office, The Code Administration Office and on the Town of Colchester Planning and Zoning Website.


Can I put a fence through the wetlands?
You can install a fence through wetlands.  However, if there is clearing which must be done first, this may require a permit.

I have an area marked "Conservation Easement" on my property.  What can I do there?
A Conservation Easement is a deeded restriction on your property.  Its purpose is to provide additional protection to environmentally sensitive wetlands areas.  The protected area must be left in its natural state, and no clearcutting, structures, or motorized vehicles are allowed.  If the homeowner wants to cut brush or selected trees for the purposes of safety, wildlife habitat improvement, or aesthetics, permission must first be obtained from the Wetlands Enforcement Officer.


127 Norwich Avenue, Colchester, CT 06415   Phone: (860) 537-7200   Fax: (860) 537-0547 Virtual Towns & Schools Website