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Find out if you need a wetlands permit

If your project is subject to the Wetlands Protection Act, you must apply for a permit. Here’s how to find out if you need one.

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Check the state resources

The state has a mapping tool that allows you to find wetlands on or near your property. You can also review flood map of your address.


Still not sure if your project needs a permit?

If you're unsure whether you'll need a wetlands permit, you can submit a Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA). Before you complete your request, it’s a good idea to review these instructions for more background and details.

Request for Determination of Applicability

If you find out that your project requires a wetlands permit, we have information on how to get a permit through the Boston Conservation Commission.


Gather your documents

The City needs two hard copies of your documents — one signed original and one copy. We also need one electronic copy, which you can send to us by email or as a cloud link. We will also need two hard copies of these documents:  

  • WPA Form 1
  • Plans measuring  11 inches by 17 inches  
  • An Abutters List, Affidavit of Service, and Abutter Notification. All abutters within 300 feet of the project property line must be notified, including those in a neighboring municipality.
  • A detailed project narrative.
  • (If applicable) A Stormwater Report to document compliance with the Stormwater Management Standards, per 310 CMR 10.05(6)(k)-(q). This includes associated drainage calculations for rooftops, parking lots, driveways, etc., for the required design storm events.

  • (If applicable) A narrative detailing best management practices for stormwater management, as set forth in the Stormwater Management Standards of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and any separate standards and guidelines prepared by the City and the Boston Water and Sewer Commission.

  • (If applicable) The Checklist for Stormwater Report.

  • Details of the stormwater management system, including catch basins, oil separating tanks, detention basins, outfalls, sewer connections, etc.

Please note:

We don’t want non-recyclable materials. Please don't send us vinyl or plastic binders, folders, or covers with your application.


Check to see if your plans meet all requirements

Maps and plans must display two things:

1. You need to show the condition of the existing and proposed project sites. This should include temporary measures, effects from construction, or any work planned to lessen the impact of construction.

2. You also need to show what types of activities will take place, and where they'll be located. Make sure to show where the activities are in relation to the wetlands boundaries.

Your plans also need to meet certain design standards:

  • Drawings should have the name of the project, location, people preparing the project, date, and should be stamped by an engineer.
  • The ratio scales used on plans should have one inch equal 10 feetone inch equal 20 feet, or one inch equal 40 feet.
  • You can reduce the plan size to meet the 11 inch by 17 inch submission requirement. We may also ask you to give us additional plans with better detail.

Make sure your plans include:

  • All property boundaries according to the most recent information from the Assessing Department.
  • All existing natural and manmade features. This includes tree lines and rocksfences and foot pathsoverhead and underground utilities, and drainage structures.
  • The elevation of all drainage structures, waterways, and wetlands.
  • Wetland resource areas — including the 100-foot buffer zone. Include the flag numbers within those areas.
  • 100-year flood elevations, as determined by FEMA. If you can't get this information, you'll need an estimate from a registered engineer.  
  • Calculations showing the full-flow capacity and velocity of water courses, channels, and storm drains.
  • An 8 ½ inch by 11 inch photocopy of the US Geological Survey of the area. This should be a topographic quadrangle that show the location of the project.

Get your maps and plans signed

Get your drawings stamped by a registered professional civil engineer or land surveyor. Any plans showing drainage systems or sewer systems must also be stamped by a registered professional civil engineer. 


Give us your documents

We need the two hard copies of your application along with the one electronic copy. There's no fee to submit a Request for Determination of Applicability to us.

You can email electronic copies to or give us a cloud link to download. You can bring the two hard copies of your application — or mail everything — to:

Boston Conservation Commission
1 City Hall Square, Room 709
Boston, MA 02201

Please note:

We don’t want non-recyclable materials. Please don't send us vinyl or plastic binders, folders, or covers with your application.


Go to a public hearing

Once we get your application, you'll need to attend one or more hearings with us. Hearings are usually on the first and third Wednesdays of every month. You can find the hearing scheduled in the Boston Herald and on the City's public notices page.

If you get everything to us two weeks before our next scheduled hearing date, your first hearing will fall on that date. If you miss the two-week window, your first public hearing will take place on the following date.

Need to Know:

Have questions? Contact us:

BOSTON, MA 02201

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