Tree Removal with In Wetland Buffer Zone

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Latest post 06-21-2006 11:51 AM by carol3. 6 replies.
  • 06-20-2006 11:22 AM

    • JB5
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    • Joined on 06-20-2006
    • Posts 1

    Question [=?] Tree Removal with In Wetland Buffer Zone

    I would like to remove 11 mature pine trees which are located in a buffer zone to wetlands. These trees are located in my front yard and are wreaking havoc with my gutters, my roof and overall front yard and add nothing to the general landscape. I have spoken to the local conservation agent who informed me that I could remove only 3 of them (2 which are completely dead). I would like to know if there is another way to have these trees removed. A friend of mine recomended that b/c I have a fireplace I have the right to remove trees within this buffer zone for the purpose of home heating. Is this true? If so where can I find out how many are reasonable and is there something else I need to do?
    Can someone either verify or give me another direction to get rid of these trees?

    Thanks in advance.
  • 06-20-2006 3:32 PM In reply to

    News [|*|] re: Tree Removal with In Wetland Buffer Zone

    "A friend of mine recomended that b/c I have a fireplace I have the right to remove trees within this buffer zone for the purpose of home heating. Is this true?"

    Unless your friend is a conservation officer or represents the local zoning and planning board with response to wetlands law, you would be ill advised to take his advice.

    No one on a board can possibly interpret your local wetlands laws or second guess what your conservation officer has advised you.

    "Can someone either verify or give me another direction to get rid of these trees? "

    The local conservation agent and/or your local zoning and planning board responsible for wetlands permits is the appropriate source of information.
  • 06-20-2006 3:34 PM In reply to

    More [=+=] re: Tree Removal with In Wetland Buffer Zone

    correction paragraph 2:

    "with response to wetlands law,"

    should read, "with responsibility for enforcing wetlands law..."
  • 06-20-2006 11:15 PM In reply to

    re: Tree Removal with In Wetland Buffer Zone

    Layman’s comments:

    Perhaps if you can’t remove them you can do MAJOR trimming of limbs and branches to make them less troublesome.

    Often it’s better to ask anonymous questions, check out local ordinances, and work quietly WITHOUT contacting the conservation agents (who that is in your case, I don’t understand). Do you have neighbors who would complain?

    Wetlands are established and governed by the US Army Corp of Engineers. How is it that this buffer zone is declared wetlands? Or is it a supposition? If you haven’t had a wetlands delineation done in this buffer, or it wasn’t done previously, then I’d consider it not done yet, and proceed quietly. I don’t see how pine trees equate to wetlands. Usually you need wetland soils, water sufficient to designate a wetland, and known wetland plants. One option might be to cut 3 trees now… and 3 more a couple years later.

    Usually local zoning offices “enforce” wetland regulations when they are reviewing applications for subdivisions, or if a neighbor complains. These departments are overworked and generally do not have “officers” roaming the streets like a policeman. If you’re on a main corridor, yeah, they may see you.

    Check with the forestry dept to inquire about tree cutting rules for private individuals. Don’t tell them your name. Check with your local planning to see if there are any ordinances regulating tree cutting for private individuals. Be generic and don’t tell them your name. As a layman, I’m suggesting that you don’t go looking for approval from a regulatory officer, as you’re bound to get an answer you don’t want. I hope it works out for you.
  • 06-21-2006 9:32 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,498

    re: Tree Removal with In Wetland Buffer Zone

    I agree--don't ask question inyour name where you are unhappy with answers--and call attention to yourself.

    I suspect they may be overlapping rules. Generally a property owner is permitted to cut timber for his own needs--it runs from old English property laws--BUT laws may vary.

    And enforcement may vary.

    In my town you cannot cut shade trees w/o a permit and a replacement tree--but sometimes its just don't ask don't tell.

    PS If I can remove 3 at a time --so be it. But I'd pick the 3 I needed first--and cut dead ones later



  • 06-21-2006 10:09 AM In reply to

    News [|*|] re: Here's a summary of MA LAW re Wetlands...

    It appears according to the MA Wetlands Protection Act (ref. below) that you must obtain a permit before attempting any removal of trees.

    You were wise to contact a conservation officer which is required in Massachusetts, and who appropriately advised you according to the laws of your state.

    A question as to whether an activity is actually a regulated activity occurring in a regulated resource area or buffer zone may be formally resolved by filing a Request for Determination of Applicability or, in many cases, by informal consultation with the Conservation Office. In general, the following activities, whether permanent or temporary, are regulated by the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act:

    ...Altering (e.g., site preparation and grading, destroying trees or other vegetation, changing the water temperature of a stream by discharging stormwater from parking lots or removing overhanging trees and brush, changing the biological oxygen demand of a pond or stream by introducing fertilizer and other nutrients, or changing stormwater flow rates and velocities) - these are the activities that change the landscape and affect storm flows and the health of the waterbodies.

    State of MA Wetlands Protection Act
    http://www.mass.gov/dep/water/laws/ch131s40.pdf

  • 06-21-2006 11:51 AM In reply to

    More [=+=] re: Tree Removal with In Wetland Buffer Zone

    "As a layman, I’m suggesting that you don’t go looking for approval from a regulatory officer, as you’re bound to get an answer you don’t want."

    If there are regulations about maintaining wetlands (as there are in MA) one must act in accordance with the law and obtain required approvals.

    This person already consulted a conservation officer and was given the appropriate answer based on Massachusetts Wetlands Law.

    The State of Massachusetts has a Wetlands Preservation Act as outlined in my response 4. below.

    I am in a state which has strict wetlands laws. In fact, have designated wetlands on the rear of my property and any changes to the terrain must be by permit even though we own the property. Having also served on a Town Board in my state which takes protection of wetlands seriously, there are penalties for not complying with these laws.
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