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How to find out if you need a wetlands permit

How to 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.

Last updated: 7/12/16

Before you get started

The Boston Conservation Commission can tell you if your project falls under the Wetland Protection Act. If it does, you must apply for a permit.

Before you complete your application, it’s a good idea to print out these instructions for more background and details.


Fill out your application

Download and complete the Request for Determination of Applicability form.


Make copies of your application

You need to create eight hard copies of your completed application — one original and seven copies. You also need to save an electronic copy.


Do 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, and date.
  • 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, and
  • approved by the Boston Water and Sewer Commission.

Make copies of your maps and plans

You need to make eight hard copies — one signed original and seven copies. You'll also need one electronic copy of your plans.

Make sure your maps and plans are 11 inches by 17 inches.


Send your electronic copy

There's no fee to submit a request to us. Once you've completed your application and plans, you can submit electronic copies to

You can also send us electronic copies via CD or cloud download.


Then give us your hard copies

You can bring the eight 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.


We'll let you know if you need a permit

Once we review your application and plans, we’ll send you a letter to let you know if you need to get a Wetlands permit.

How to apply for the Wetlands permit

1 City Hall Square
Room 709
Boston, MA 02201-2031
United States