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The Process of Protecting Inland Wetlands & Watercourses

Before You Act

Wetland regulations apply to everyone.  The existence of a wetland is not always obvious; for example wetlands can exist in lawns, on the sides of steep slopes, or on top of ridges.  Wetlands are determined based on soils and may not always appear wet.  If a wetland permit is required the process can take a month or more, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Before you start a project/activity:

  • Find out if there are any wetlands or watercourses located either on the property or close enough that activities will require a permit.
    • Often times, surveyors have soil scientists that they work with. If you have a surveyor, you may want to check with them before you contact a soil scientist on your own.
      • If you do not already have a surveyor, please reference this list of engineers and surveyors that have worked in Branford. Please note, this list is a resource, not a recommendation.
    • Here is a list of soil scientists that have worked in the Town. Please note, this list is a resource, not a recommendation.
    • The Society of Soil Scientists of Southern New England also has a registry that is updated annually. That list can be found here.
  • Make sure there aren't any deed restrictions or conservation easements
    • If there are, contact the appropriate parties about whether your proposed activities are allowed
  • Obtain an Inland Wetland permit for any Regulated Activities that you would like to conduct
    • If a permit has already been granted, make sure you understand the conditions of the permit and that you know when the expiration date is
    • If you are not sure whether a wetland and watercourses permit is required, you may submit this questionnaire to the Inland Wetland and Natural Resources office or contact the office directly

Application for Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Permit

Applications must be submitted to Inland Wetlands the same day or before they are submitted to Planning & Zoning or the Building Department.

Applications typically need to be reviewed and acted upon by the Inland Wetlands Commission at their public meetings, see more information below. 

If the Agency and/or its Duly Authorized Agent determines that the activity proposed in an application would result in no greater than a minimal impact on any wetland or watercourse, then the application may be approved administratively by the Duly Authorized Agent.

For more information on what materials are required for a permit application, reference Section 7 of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Regulations of the Town of Branford. Please contact the Inland Wetlands and Natural Resources Department if you have any questions.

Click here to access the application form or the questionnaire to request a determination as to whether a permit is required.

Inland Wetlands and Watercouses Agency commission meetings

The Commission will continue to hold remote meetings via Zoom for the foreseeable future and have the meetings broadcasted by Branford Community Television (BCTV) unless there is a scheduling conflict. 

Materials for pending applications can be found here with the aim to make sure that all available documents are uploaded at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

Meeting minutes and, in the case of remote meetings, meeting recordings will continue to be available within 7 days after the meeting. 


  • Starting in 2024, the Commission will meet twice a month on the second and fourth Thursday of the month (there will be no second meeting in November or December)
  • Special meetings & site walks will be scheduled as needed and will be noticed pursuant to FOIA (Connecticut General Statute [CGS] §1-200 to 1-259)
  • The Commission will continue to meet remotely via Zoom (pursuant to CGS §1-225a) unless otherwise noted. 
    • The Zoom meeting information can be found on the agenda for each meeting. 
    • Should the Commission determine to hold an in person meeting, the location of such meeting will be indicated on the meeting agenda. 


  • The Commission may cancel a meeting for any reason
  • Cancellation of a meeting does not change the receipt date of an application (see Applications for receipt below)
    • The Agency’s staff will identify applications for receipt on the notice of cancelation
    • If any additional applications are received after filing the cancelation notice, they will be identified on a revised notice which will be filed the day the meeting was scheduled to occur if possible and no later than 7 days after the meeting
    • Individuals can contact the Inland Wetland office if there are any questions regarding applications for receipt

Applications for receipt:

  • Applications received no later than the day before a regularly scheduled meeting will be for receipt at that meeting per CGS §8-7d(c)
  • In consideration of CGS §22a-42a(C)(1), the general practice of the commission will be to identify the application as for receipt and continue review of the application to the next regularly scheduled meeting
    • CGS §22a-42a(C)(1): “…An inland wetlands agency may issue a permit without a public hearing provided no petition provided for in this subsection is filed with the agency on or before the fourteenth day after the date of receipt of the application. …”
  • If the applicant wants to give a brief presentation on an application for receipt:
    • The complete application must be submitted no later than five (5) business days prior to a meeting so that materials can be distributed to Commissioners and staff can take an initial look at the application materials
    • The applicant should inform staff that they intend to give a presentation
    • It is requested that the applicant keep the presentation to under ten (10) minutes
    • Applications for receipt will be heard at the end of the meeting agenda

Applications for review:

  • Any revised or additional documents of substance (as determined by the Agency) shall be submitted pursuant to section 8.6 of the regulations.  Failure to submit the documents in such timeframe may result in the Commission tabling review of the application as a whole, or of the subject documents, to a future meeting. The timeframes are as follows:
    • If no public hearing, three (3) days prior to the scheduled meeting
    • If public hearing, five (5) business days prior to the public hearing (or continuance thereof)
      • For more info on the public hearing process see section 9 of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Regulations of the Town of Branford and CGS §22a-42a(c)(1) and §8-7d
  • To help facilitate timely review of revised materials, it is requested that an outline of all changes made to previously submitted materials be provided with any revised materials submissions.


The Connecticut General Statutes (§22a-44)Section 14 of the Inland Wetland and Watercourses Regulations of the Town of Branford, and Chapter 196 of the Town Code all provide a means for the Agency to take enforcement action when Regulated Activities are being conducted or maintained without a permit. Anyone found to be conducting Regulated Activities without a permit or violating conditions of an issued permit can face enforcement action in the form of a Notice of Violation, Cease and Correct Order (which may be filed on the land records) and/or fines of up to $1,000 per day.


Last Updated: Mon, 01/22/2024 - 10:07am