news from the waterfront by Tim Matson


I'd like to pass along a recent impression of mine that pond construction is facing more permitting hurdles lately, in terrain that might be considered wetland. I've worked on one preliminary pond plan that received an initial okay from the state, which forwarded its finding to US Army Corps of Engineers. After visiting the site, a specialist from the Corps nixed the pond. Too disruptive to a protected wetland.

What seems to be happening is an overlap of regulatory authority, so that while a state DNR might agree to a pond project, the Corps may not go along. Again, keep in mind that we're talking about building ponds in terrain with some degree of wetland features.

Click here for a larger image. (large photos may load slowly)

Click here for a larger image. (large photos may load slowly)

The bottom line is that if you've got a site with any wetland characteristics (ground water, stream, wetland vegetation), you'd be wise to run it by your state permitting agency, and the Corps. Corps laws vary from state to state, but in general it's a good idea to keep your pond under an acre, unless you're prepared to go through considerable permitting. (Towns may also have pond regulations.)

I've heard more than one horror story about someone who built a pond without permits, and was fined and required to restore the site.

Check with your state Department of Natural Resources, and district U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office for more detail on what rules apply to your area, and the proceedures to follow. The website for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is www.usace.army.mil/inet/functions/cwe/cecwo/reg Or check the Earth Ponds Sourcebook (Revised Edition) p. 155 for the phone number of your Corps district office.

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