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State Seeks Feedback On New Rules For Wetland Impacts

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The state starts taking public input this week on new rules to protect wetlands from construction and other impacts.

It's the first complete overhaul of the state wetlands code since 1991.

Department of Environmental Services spokesman Jim Martin says the agency has been working on it for years, with help from others:

“Loggers, foresters, conservation commissions, wetland scientists and so forth – these are people that work and deal with wetlands rules and regulations on probably almost a daily basis,” Martin says.

The resulting draft proposal would ease some setback requirements for development near wetlands, and expand what projects can get a faster permit, or go without one.

The draft rules still have holes where the state says it needs more feedback, especially around construction of docks, decks and beaches on lakes and in non-tidal areas.

Public meetings on the changes are set for Monday at 6 p.m. in Concord, and over the next couple weeks in Portsmouth, Laconia, Keene and Lancaster. (See the full schedule here.)

Martin says the state will finalize the draft wetlands rules and begin a formal public hearing process after these meetings.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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