Developing wetlands regulations
Wetlands perform many ecological services, such as:
- storing floodwater
- filtering stormwater run-off
- producing oxygen, and
- reducing the "urban heat island" effect.
They are natural resources for all Bostonians. The creation of regulations will ensure these resources are protected from both development and climate change. Due to their complexity, the development of regulations has been separated into phases.
Phase III: Climate resilience and environmental justice
Focus areas for Phase III
Community Advisory Board
The City has assembled a Community Advisory Board (CAB) to help guide the process of developing the third phase of regulations. CAB representatives are key partners. They will help shape an inclusive regulations development and community engagement process. In collaboration with the CAB, we hope to develop regulations that represent community values and objectives.
Some goals and responsibilities of the CAB include, but are not limited to:
- providing insight into the social, economic, and cultural impacts of climate change on Boston’s environmental justice populations
- identifying prior and ongoing work and community feedback that may inform this new project
- sharing existing resources and maintaining transparency about the process with the broader community
- helping to determine opportunities for community engagement, collect community feedback, and identify barriers to obtaining feedback, and
- informing and refining the climate resilience and environmental justice regulations and guidelines. We want to ensure that they reflect and address community priorities.
- Kristine Acevedo, Dorchester
- Nashira Baril, Mattapan
- Cindy Baxter, East Boston
- Ruth Georges, Mattapan
- Vanessa Farny, West Roxbury
- Heidi Fisher, North End
- Chris Lang, Roslindale
- James Long, Brighton
- Val Mayo, Hyde Park
Phase I: Procedural regulations
The Commission adopted procedural and administrative regulations in August 2020. They outline the process for submitting an application and receiving a permit.
Phase II: Performance standards
Phase II of the regulations focused on wetland resources that are either:
- not protected under state law, or
- do not have any standards for projects to follow.
The goal was to create a set of performance standards that projects must follow to protect and preserve these resources.Phase II created a set of regulations for:
- isolated vegetated wetlands, which are wetlands that are not next to open water
- vernal pools and vernal pool habitat, which are small depressions that seasonally fill with water, and
- land subject to coastal storm flowage, which is the same as the 100-year floodplain.
The Commission adopted the Phase II regulations in February 2022. Community engagement and feedback from stakeholders were critical in developing these regulations. You can review the process and all of the materials considered by the Commission below.the phase ii process: