New Jersey, “The Garden State” in reality is more like the “Swamp State”. This State has everything from coastal marshes and bogs to upland streams, tributaries, ponds, lakes, and vernal pools. These familiar water areas are usually encumbered with wetlands that are protected by the US Government and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). Planning on building something here in NJ? Better get the facts on how Wetlands and water areas will impact your project – before you start.
Wetlands Are a Federal Matter
With the introduction of the Clean Water Act in 1975, Freshwater Wetlands became protected and the practice of filling wetlands started to end. Regulated by the US Army Corps of Engineers in most States, NJ took on the responsibility of regulating their own wetlands in 1989.
What Is a Wetland and Buffer?
To determine what is (not) a wetland, a Three (3) Parameter Methodology for determining the limits of wetlands is outlined by the Army Corps of Engineers. Vegetation, Hydrology, and Hydric Soils where any two (2) of the three (3) parameters are indicative of NJ wetlands. Wetlands also have a Transition Area (Buffer) associated with them that can range from zero feet to as much as 150 feet depending on the wetland resource value classification.
Only a formal NJDEP Letter of Interpretation (LOI) can definitively delineate the limits of a wetland. But most folks don’t know that there are basically three (3) different types: Presence Absence (Lot), Footprint of Disturbance (Portion of the lot), and Delineation (Full Line Details). Picking the right permit will save you a lot of money and will be critical to a successful project.
Who Can Help With Wetland / Drainage Questions?
What Wetland Permit Do I Need?
It depends, but if you are building a pool, a “Footprint of Disturbance” LOI usually works. But be careful, most consultants will give you what you ask for which unfortunately is often the most expensive LOI (the Full Line Verification), not the most cost-effective one. Be sure to ask the difference and which one is best for your unique situation.
When Was Your Home Built?
The era your home was built can have huge wetland issues associated with it. A home built in 1940 has different wetland impacts than one built in 1990. Older homes built on filled wetlands are now being re-built with bigger deeper basements and running into strange water intrusion and drainage issues. So get that lot checked out before you decide to demolish that old home. You might not be able to make a larger footprint or expand that basement.
Wetlands Got You Confused?
That’s what we are here for. While you might think you can do this all on your own, addressing environmental matters defies rational logic and often takes longer than you can imagine. Trust us, we’ve seen countless family projects like additions, scrape-offs, and new pools get crushed under the burden of environmental regulations. Don’t let that happen to you. Call us first.