New Freshwater Wetlands Rules

Freshwater Wetlands

Important Update: The DEM has promulgated new Freshwater Wetlands rules (250-RICR-150-15-3) that took effect July 1, 2022. Applications filed prior to that date are governed by the Rules in effect at the time of the filing (the Freshwater Wetlands Rules (250-RICR-150-15-1))

To support the transition to the new rules, DEM will post information about the implementation of the new rules on our website. Recordings of training workshops held earlier this year, hosted by DEM in collaboration with the RI Coastal Resources Management Council, are available. Use the link below for more information on Training and Guidance, including the schedule for upcoming workshops and archived training materials.

DEM has established a form for submitting questions about the new rules. Persons are encouraged to submit questions in advance of training workshops to assist DEM in planning the content of the workshops.


Freshwater Wetlands General Permit

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) Office of Water Resources is hereby issuing a Freshwater Wetlands General Permit (FWW GP), effective October 31, 2022, in accordance with Rule 3.10 of the Rules and Regulations Governing the Administration and Enforcement of the RI Freshwater Wetlands Act (250-RICR-150-15-3, “FWW Rules”) for a limited list of projects and activities. A public Notice of this FWW GP was issued on July 29, 2022 for 45 days, and RIDEM received several comments. Revisions to the FWW GP in response to comments were minor in scope and do not require the issuance of a new public Notice. A link to a summary of the comments and RIDEM’s responses is included below.

A link to the new FWW GP is also provided below, along with links to the new electronic application form, an application checklist to assist preparation of a complete application, and a Q&A document on the FWW GP.

  • Online Application For Freshwater Wetlands General Permit
    • After clicking the above link, most applicants should select “Open in browser.”  The Survey123 Field Application should be selected only by applicants who plan to work on multiple Freshwater Wetlands General Permit applications at the same time.

Overview of New Freshwater Wetlands Rules

The final rules implement amendments to state law aimed at strengthening wetland protection, providing clarity and predictability and streamlining the permitting processes for development and other activities conducted in proximity to freshwater wetlands. Amendments to state law expanded the jurisdiction of DEM and the RI Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) over lands near freshwater wetland resources and mandated that the Agencies develop a common set of standards for freshwater wetland buffers taking into account resource protection needs, watershed protection needs and existing land use.

Rulemaking Updates

Current Rulemaking Actions

There are no current rulemaking actions.

Prior Rulemaking Actions

Part 3 Freshwater Wetland Rules (250-RICR-150-15-3) – Amended

Part 3 Freshwater Wetland Rules (250-RICR-150-15-3) - Superseded

Part 2 Freshwater Wetlands Rules (250-RICR-150-15-2) – Repealed effective 4/10/2022. This rule is no longer active.

Primary Resources