Freshwater wetlands in New Jersey are divided into three classifications known as “resource values” based on the type of wetland present; these classifications are Exceptional, Intermediate and Ordinary. The resource value is based on several criteria including the presence or absence of habitat for threatened or endangered species, whether or not the wetland discharges into trout production waters, and the general setting of the area. Depending on the resource value of a wetland, regulated upland transition areas around the wetland may range from 0 – 150 feet in radius.
The boundaries of the wetland should be determined by a qualified individual based on an assessment of hydrology, vegetation and soils. When regulated activities are planned in the wetland or transition area, a Letter of Interpretation (LOI) application should be prepared and submitted to NJDEP. The NJDEP will then review the wetland classification, the presence or absence of wetlands at the site and/or the wetland boundary, as applicable. At the conclusion of the review, NJDEP will issue an LOI to certify the findings of the wetlands assessment.
Assuming that the LOI confirms the presence of wetlands or transition areas in the proposed project area, permitting from NJDEP will likely be required, such as a general permit, individual permit or transition area waiver. The permit will outline the activities that are allowed and the restoration plan to be implemented at the completion of the project.
Planning is an essential component to successful completion of projects located in wetlands and transition areas. JMS is experienced in preparing and complying with freshwater wetland permits and LOIs.
For more information on freshwater wetlands, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/landuse/fww/fww_main.html