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Laws and Regulation

The state of Connecticut strives to protect its natural resources. In 1972 the state legislative enacted the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Act (IWWA) which is put forth in sections 22a-36 through 22a-45 of the Connecticut General Statutes (CGS).

Key Components of the IWWA:

The Agency

CGS §22a-42(c) required that each municipality establish an Inland Wetlands Agency to protect the wetlands and watercourses within its territorial limits. The Town of Branford Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency was established in Chapter 109 of the Town Ordinance on January 9, 1974. The Agency consists of 10 volunteer Town residents (7 regular members and 3 alternates) appointed by the Board of Selectmen. These members are responsible for applying the CGS §22a-36 through §22a-45 and the Town of Branford Inland Wetland and Watercourse Regulations to ensure the protection of the wetlands and watercourses within the town of Branford.  The Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency's staff includes a full time Enforcement Officer (Duly Authorized Agent) and Assistant located in the Natural Resources and Inland Wetland Department.

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Inland Wetlands and Watercourses – Regulated Areas

Inland Wetlands and Watercourses are the regulated areas that fall under jurisdiction of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency.

Wetlands: Per Connecticut General Statutes, wetlands are defined by their soils; wetland soils are those classified as “poorly drained, very poorly drained, alluvial, and floodplain” (more information here).  Classification by soils allows for the identification of wetlands during droughts or when other indicators such as standing water, wetland vegetation, or obligate wildlife species are absent. Tidal wetlands as identified in the CGS and as determined in the field by the DEEP Office of Long Island Sound Programs [OLISP] are excluded from Inland Wetland jurisdiction.  

Watercourses: Watercourses include rivers, streams, brooks, waterways, lakes, ponds, marshes, swamps, bogs, and all other bodies of water, natural or artificial. See Section 2 of the Branford Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Regulations for a full definition. 

When in doubt, DEEP OLISP must make the final determination as to tidal verses inland jurisdiction.

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Regulated Activities

The Agency has jurisdiction over activities within inland wetlands and watercourses and outside of these areas when the activity is likely to impact or affect wetlands or watercourses. These activities are defined as Regulated Activities; for more information refer to Section 2 of the Branford Inland Wetland and Watercourse Regulations.  

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Resource Links:

Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Regulations of the Town of Branford

Regulations - Revised: December 8, 2022; effective January 10, 2023

Town Code of Branford

Chapter 109 - Wetlands Commission

Chapter 196 - Penalties and Citations

State Resources

DEEP (Department of Energy and Environmental Services) Inland Wetlands Page

State of Connecticut General Statutes for Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Chapter 440

Other Resources

CACIWC (CT Association of Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commissions)

CAWS (CT Association of Wetland Scientists)

Reference Case Law & Court Cases

Atty. Janet Brooks' blog and articles

Atty. Mark Branse and associates publications

See below for some wetland regulation court cases.

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Last Updated: Tue, 01/10/2023 - 8:30am