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Rules and Regulations

Revised Freshwater Wetlands Rules

DEM has finalized adoption of revised Freshwater Wetlands Rules(250-RICR-150-15-2) which will go into effect on January 15, 2022. Until that date, the existing Freshwater Wetland Rules (250-RICR-150-15-1) remain in place. The revised rules were the subject of a public notice issued November 23, 2020 and a public hearing held January 6, 2021. Based on public comment, DEM made minor revisions and clarifications to the proposed rules. The final new rule text is available from the Secretary of State (SOS) website at the link listed on this page. Until the effective date, the rules will carry an inactive status on the SOS website. Copies of the public comments received by the DEM and the regulatory analysis are available upon request. The full response to comment document prepared by DEM for this rulemaking is available under additional resources on this page. Additional guidance and information is forthcoming.

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The final rules implement amendments to state law aimed at strengthening wetlands protection, providing clarity and predictability and streamlining the permitting processes for development and other activities conducted in proximity to freshwater wetlands. Amendments to state law expanded the jurisdiction of DEM and the RI Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) over lands near freshwater wetland resources and mandated that the Agencies develop a common set of standards for freshwater wetland buffers taking into account resource protection needs, watershed protection needs and existing land use.

Questions about the new rules may be addressed to the Office of Water Resources at DEM.WaterResources@dem.ri.gov or by contacting Sue Kiernan at 401-222-4700 ext. 77600.

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