WATER MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION
FILL AND DREDGE IN WETLANDS
482-A:15 Local Option; Prime Wetlands.
I. (a) Any municipality, by its conservation commission, or, in the absence of a conservation commission, the planning board, or, in the absence of a planning board, the local governing body, may undertake to designate, map, and document prime wetlands lying within its boundaries, or if such areas lie only partly within its boundaries, then that portion lying within its boundaries. The conservation commission, planning board, or governing body shall give written notice to the owner of the affected land and all abutters 30 days prior to the public hearing, before designating any property as prime wetlands.
(b) Prior to municipal vote under paragraph II, maps that depict wetland boundaries shall be prepared and landowners having proposed prime wetlands on their property shall be informed of the boundary delineation. The acceptance of any prime wetland designation by the department prior to the effective date of this paragraph shall remain in effect; however, any revision to the boundary shall be delineated using wetland delineation methods as adopted by the department and by the standards of this section.
I-a. For the purposes of this chapter, "prime wetlands" shall mean any contiguous areas falling within the jurisdictional definitions of RSA 482-A:2, X and RSA 482-A:4 that, because of their size, unspoiled character, fragile condition, or other relevant factors, make them of substantial significance. A prime wetland shall be at least 2 acres in size, shall not consist of a water body only, shall have at least 4 primary wetland functions, one of which shall be wildlife habitat, and shall have a width of at least 50 feet at its narrowest point. The boundary of a prime wetland shall coincide, where present, with the upland edge of any wetland, as defined in RSA 482-A:2, X, that is part of the prime wetland. On-site verification of proposed prime wetland boundaries shall be performed where landowner permission is provided.
I-b. The commissioner shall adopt rules under RSA 541-A relative to the form, criteria, and methods that shall be used to designate, map, and document prime wetlands, determine boundaries in the field, and amend maps and designations once filed and accepted by the department under paragraph II.
II. Any municipal conservation commission or that local body which has mapped and designated prime wetlands in accordance with paragraph I may, after approval by any town or city council meeting, file such maps and designations with the department, which shall accept and maintain them and provide public access to such maps during regular business hours. The procedure for acceptance by the local legislative body of any prime wetland designations as provided in paragraph I shall be the same as set forth in RSA 675:2 or RSA 675:3, as applicable.
Source. 1989, 339:1. 1991, 20:8. 1996, 296:48. 2009, 185:3. 2012, 235:2, eff. Aug. 17, 2012.