Wetlands Protection



Wetlands in both tidal and nontidal areas, as well as most of the shoreline and river bottoms, are regulated by state and federal laws.  The reason?

These lands are among the most productive lands in Virginia – as productive as tropical rain forests, acre for acre.  They produce food for fish and shellfish, provide habitat, remove nutrient and other pollution, and help reduce flooding – all for free.


So if you disturb a wetland or the land around a wetland, you have to be careful and in most cases, you need to get a permit from state and/or federal environmental regulatory agencies.


If you care about a special wetland or shoreline, you’ll also need to know about regulatory processes so that you can be a stronger advocate for that special place.


This section contains basic information on the regulatory process and also the importance of land use decisions in shaping that regulatory process.  Wetlands Watch is available to help you with questions on regulatory matters and can refer you to regulatory professionals in federal, state, and local agencies who can be of assistance.

The State of Virginia recently issued a State Wetlands Plan that outlines what is right and wrong in Virginia with wetlands management and has a plan for dealing with the issue. 
Download a copy here (.pdf file)

The best resource for information on wetlands, primary dunes, and shoreline ecosystem management can be found at the
Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM), a part of the Virginia Institute for Marine Science.  Their website is the most comprehensive resource on wetlands in the mid-Atlantic.