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.

Proposed Freshwater Wetlands General Permit & Public Comment Period

Section 3.10 of the New Freshwater Wetlands Rules (250-RICR-150-15-3) creates a Freshwater Wetlands General Permit. DEM may issue the Freshwater Wetlands General Permit for limited projects that meet certain eligibility requirements and that:

  • a) involve the same or similar types and areas of alteration or impacts;
  • b) occur only within the jurisdictional area identified in the general permit;
  • c) involve similar land uses; and that
  • d) in the opinion of the Department are more appropriately authorized under a general permit than under individual Freshwater Wetlands Permits.

RI DEM is now proposing the Freshwater Wetlands General Permit with a public comment period from July 29, 2022 through September 12, 2022. Additional information regarding the proposed Freshwater Wetlands General Permit, the public comment period, and supporting documents can be accessed using the bulleted list below:

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.