§2-1-18  Declaration of intent. –


Published: 2015

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TITLE 2

Agriculture and Forestry

CHAPTER 2-1

Agricultural Functions of Department of Environmental Management

PART 2-1-13

Fresh Water Wetlands

SECTION 2-1-18



   § 2-1-18  Declaration of intent. –

Whereas it is recognized that freshwater wetlands, buffers, floodplains, and

other areas that may be subject to storm flows and flooding as defined in this

chapter provide storage and absorption areas for flood waters which reduce

flood hazards; and



   Whereas all flood plains for all rivers, streams, and other

water courses are certain to be overflowed with water periodically in spite of

all reasonable efforts to prevent those occurrences; and



   Whereas flood waters overflowing into freshwater wetlands,

buffers, floodplains, and other areas that may be subject to storm flows and

flooding are not only released more slowly downstream, thus reducing the damage

they may cause, but flood waters may be absorbed into the ground water supply

further reducing the flood hazard and recharging the vital ground water

resource; and



   Whereas precipitation patterns are known to be changing and

Rhode Island has experienced a higher frequency of intense storm events

resulting in flooding; and



   Whereas freshwater wetlands and buffers are among the most

valuable of all wildlife habitats and are high value recreational areas as

well, and wildlife and recreation are widely recognized as essential to the

health, welfare, and general well being of the general populace; and



   Whereas it has been established through scientific study that

activities conducted in lands adjacent to freshwater wetlands can exert

influence on their condition, functions, and values and subsequently these

lands should be protected; and



   Whereas it has been established through scientific study that

maintaining lands adjacent to freshwater wetlands as naturally vegetated

buffers protects the functions and values of wetlands and that such buffers in

and of themselves perform vital ecological functions; and



   Whereas it has been established through scientific study that

freshwater wetlands and buffers maintained in a natural condition can provide

benefits to water quality through the filtering and uptake of water pollutants,

retention of sediment, stabilizing shorelines, and other natural processes; and



   Whereas freshwater wetlands, buffers, and floodplains, are

increasingly threatened by random and frequently undesirable projects for

drainage, excavation, filling, encroachment, or other forms of disturbance or

destruction, and that a review of scientific literature indicates that aspects

of existing state standards to protect these areas need to be strengthened; and



   Whereas the protection of freshwater wetlands, buffers,

floodplains, and other areas that may be subject to storm flows and flooding

from random, unnecessary, and/or undesirable drainage, excavation, filling,

encroachment, or any other form of disturbance or destruction is recognized as

being in the best public interest and essential to the health, welfare, and

general well being of the general populace and essential to the protection of

property and life during times of flood or other disaster affecting water

levels or water supply;



   Whereas the lack of uniform standards results in duplication

of reviews administered by state and local governments and burdens businesses

and property owners who require a predictable regulatory environment to be

successful; and



   Whereas it is recognized that statewide regulatory standards

to protect freshwater wetlands, buffers, and floodplains are in the public

interest, important to supporting economic vitality, and necessary to ensure

protection is achieved in a consistent manner; and



   Therefore, the provisions of the following sections are

intended to preserve freshwater wetlands, buffers, and floodplains and regulate

the use thereof freshwater through the establishment of jurisdictional areas

and the regulation of activities consistent with this chapter.



History of Section.

(G.L. 1956, § 2-1-18; P.L. 1971, ch. 213, § 1; P.L. 2015, ch. 218,

§ 1.)