Wetlands provide important socio-economic benefits and ecosystem services such as storing and conveying flood waters, recharging groundwater, improving water quality by filtering and storing nutrients, and providing shoreline protection and critical habitat for a multitude of plant and animal species. The Maryland Department of the Environment’s Wetlands and Waterways Protection Program protects Maryland wetlands and waterways from loss and degradation. This protection is achieved through the regulation of the draining, dredging and filling of tidal and nontidal wetlands, the nontidal wetland buffer and waterways, including the nontidal 100-year floodplain through a permitting or authorization process implemented in close coordination with the federal government (specifically, the Army Corps of Engineers).
While there are some exemptions from permitting requirements for certain activities, permits or letters of authorization from the State are generally required if a property owner plans to undertake an activity that results in the draining of a wetland or the addition of fill materials to a State regulated wetland or waterway. Examples of activities which require permits from the Wetlands and Waterways Protection Program include building a new pier, adding a platform or boat lift to an existing pier, dredging a boat slip, putting in a bulkhead, filling in a nontidal wetland or buffer for the construction of a structure such as a shed or the expansion or creation of a patio or driveway, and, creating a stream crossing or putting a utility pipeline under a stream.
The Wetlands and Waterways Protection Program also provides Maryland-regulated floodplain and FEMA Floodplain information to the public. With climate change increasing precipitation, sea level rise and flooding in Maryland, protecting and restoring wetlands, waterways, and their buffers will be critical to securing a resilient future for Maryland’s citizens and ecosystems. To learn more about MDE's Water and Science Administration’s detailed climate adaptation goals and strategies please visit the
WSA Climate Change site.
Tropical Storm/Hurricane Preparedness
Guidance for Emergency Repairs for Damage Resulting from any Major Named Storm/High Tide Event (v. November 2023)
Guidance for Emergency Repairs - general (v. September 2023) - To facilitate emergency actions/repairs which impact State-regulated water resources, the Maryland Department of the Environment (“MDE” or “the Department”) highlights these established procedures for conducting emergency repairs under COMAR 26.17.04.06 (D) Construction on Nontidal Waters and Floodplains, 26.23.02.08 Nontidal Wetlands, COMAR 26.24 Tidal Wetlands, and COMAR 23.02.04.05C State Tidal Wetland Licensing Procedures.
Hurricane and Tropical Storm Preparedness tips are also available from the MDE home page.
NEWS, IMPORTANT UPDATES, AND ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Nontidal Wetlands and Waterways
Supplemental Living Shoreline Checklist - NEW
Expedited Pier License - Expedited review and License issuance for fixed private piers and associated structures such as platforms, boat hoists or lifts, mooring piles, and osprey poles that meet the criteria under COMAR 26.24.04.02A. Project location must have no potential effects to sensitive species or cultural resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
State Application, Forms and Related Information
Marine Contractors Licensing Board (MCLB) and other Environmental Boards
Water Quality Certifications (WQCs)
- Conowingo Hydroelectric Project / Constellation Energy Generation, LLC (formerly Exelon Generation Company, LLC)- Public comments related to
Water Quality Certification 17-WQC-02 are now available. Please visit the
Conowingo Hydroelectric Project Page to view comments received as well as other project information.
- Corkers Creek, Pocomoke State Park, Worcester County- A virtual public informational hearing was held on Tuesday, February 21, 2022 at 7:00 P.M. Transcripts from the February 21st hearing and project related presentation are available at the following links:
- EVER FORWARD Grounding, Anne Arundel County, MD (MDE Wetlands and Waterways project 202261142/22-WL-0268) -Public Notice and related documents are available.
- Howard County DPW, South Meadow Court Pond and Stream Restoration (Project #23-WQC-0011/202360416) Howard County- A VIRTUAL Public Informational Hearing was held on Monday, July 31, 2023 at 7:00 pm, via Google Meets. The Hearing Transcript and related project documents are available on the
South Meadow Court Pond and Stream Restoration project information page.
- Mill Swamp Mitigation Bank - Charles County-
A VIRTUAL Public Informational Hearing was held on April 24, 2023. Hearing information and related project documents are available from the web link at:
https://mde.maryland.gov/programs/water/WetlandsandWaterways/pages/mill-swamp-mitigation-bank.aspx for Mill Swamp Mitigation Bank.
Recording from the April 24th Public Informational Hearing is now available (MP4 format).
Please note that the public informational meeting comment period was
extended to May 22, 2023.
- MDOT SHA/I-495 I-270 Managed Lane Study (20-NT-0114 / 202060649 / AI 168251/ 22-WQC-0023) - Notice of WQC decision and other project documents are available on the
Villas at Severn Crest (19-NT-0093/201960590; AI No. 164553) Anne Arundel County- A Virtual Public Informational hearing was held on October 30, 2023. A video recording of the hearing is available at: Villas @Severn Crest 19-NT-0093_201960590 - Video Recording (MP4 format), a transcript of the hearing is available at: Villas @Severn Crest 19-NT-0093_201960590 - Transcript (PDF), and the presentation by the applicant is available at: Villas @Severn Crest 19-NT-0093_201960590 - Applicant Presentation (PDF).
- WERRLEIN WSSC LLC (202161394/21-NT-0448) - 522 Defense Highway, Annapolis Maryland 21401, has applied for the redevelopment of a vacant Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) administrative facility & associated parking lots into a single-family residential subdivision with associated infrastructure. - A Virtual Public Informational Hearing was held on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, with a short informational session from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. The public informational hearing began at 7:00 p.m. The comment period was extended to January 15, 2022.
- Wicomico Regional Airport (21-NT-2114/23-WQC-0014/202162246; AI No. 23101) Wicomico County-
A virtual public informational hearing was held on June 28, 2023. Hearing information and related project documents are available from the website at:
Past Project Information:
Abingdon Business Park - BTC III I-95 Logistics Center LLC (CREG/Westport I, Chesapeake Utilities Pipeline Project - Virtual Informational Public Hearing -A virtual public informational hearing was held on September 17, 2020. A video recording of the hearing is available.
Conowingo Hydroelectric Project / Constellation Energy Generation, LLC (formerly Exelon Generation Company, LLC) - more information is available.
DRG/WSSI Umbrella Mitigation Banking Instrument and Addendum #1 Lake Elkhorn Stream Mitigation Site - Public Comment Period Extended to February 23, 2022. Video from the December 8, 2021 Virtual Public Hearing for the DRG/WSSI Umbrella Mitigation Banking Instrument and Addendum #1 - Lake Elkhorn
Eastern Shore Natural Gas Company - Del-Mar Energy Virtual Informational Public Hearing -
virtual public informational hearing was held on July 7, 2020. For project plans and a video recording of the hearing, please see the
Eastern Shore Natural Gas Company project web page.
Jabez Branch Tributary 3, Millersville, Maryland - Request for Water Quality Certification (21-WQC-0326) for Jabez Branch Tributary 3, Millersville, Maryland
MDOT SHA/I-495 I-270 Managed Lane Study - Joint Public Notice, July 10, 2020 - MDE, Nontidal Wetlands and Waterways Tracking Numbers 20-NT-0114 / 202060649 / AI 168251, COE Application Number NAB-2018-02152.
NOTICE: The comment period was extended until Monday, November 9, 2020.
Wetlands License No. 13-0966(R2)
Interested in conducting a wetland restoration or other conservation activity on your land?
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