The term wetland is used to describe a variety of wet environments including marshes, bogs, ponds, swamps, prairie potholes, and wet meadows. As transitional zones between open water and dry land, wetlands are sometimes or always covered by shallow water or have saturated soils. They are where plants adapted for life in wet conditions usually grow.
Wetlands can be identified by the presence of water (standing water or wet soils for at least a year) and the presence of plants that depend on wet conditions. There are many good reference books available to help determine if you have a wetland. However if you suspect there is a wetland it may be necessary to contact a professional to assist with that determination. The Department of Environmental Quality can assist you in this process.
A permit is needed if wetlands will be disturbed as part of any development or restoration plan. Examples of work that require a permit include:
- Filling or placing material in a wetlands
- Dredging or removing soil from a wetland
- Draining water from a wetland
- Constructing or maintaining a use or development in a wetland
Part 303 of Public Act 451 gives DEQ regulatory authority over wetlands that are contiguous or within 500 feet of an inland lake, river, pond or stream; wetlands that are contiguous or within 1,000 feet of a great lake; and, wetlands that are five acres in size, or larger.