DES readies wetlands listening sessions

Goal is rulemaking and process improvement, agency says

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has launched a multi-year effort aimed at improving the technical standards as well as the operating and decision-making processes used by its Wetlands Bureau.

According to the DES, the goals of the effort are to:

 • Enhance transparency and predictability

 • Increase consistency and standardization

 • Ensure scientifically-based decisions that protect New Hampshire's sensitive and important natural resources

The agency will begin hosting a series of focus groups and listening sessions on March 27. The sessions will run through April.

At these events, staff will provide information on the effort, including the anticipated schedule and concepts under evaluation, and lead a discussion to collect input and ideas from participants on all aspects of the Wetlands program rules and operations.

Discussion topics will include:

 • The Permitting Process: Redesigning the Path to Approval and Other Procedures

 • Using Better Information and Clearer Evaluation Standards for Improved Outcomes

 • Specific Topics and Technical Design Standards

 • General Requirements (e.g., stormwater management)

Specific Requirements for Certain Resource Areas (e.g., coastal, rivers, shorelines)

 • Specific Requirements for Certain Activities (e.g., forestry, bank stabilization, use of Best Management Practices (BMP) Manuals)

The listening sessions are scheduled for:

 • Thursday, March 27, 12:30 to 3 p.m., Littleton Senior Center

 • Monday, March 31, 9 a.m. to noon, DES headquarters,. Concord

 • Tuesday, April 1, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Southwest Regional Planning, Keene

 • Wednesday, April 9, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Community Resource Room, Concord

 • Thursday, April 10, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Strafford Regional Planning, Rochester

 • Monday, April 14, 3 to 5 p.m. Nashua Regional Planning, Merrimack

 • Tuesday, April 15, 3 to 5 p.m., Howe Library, Hanover

 • Thursday, April 24, 6 to 8 p.m. Southern New Hampshire Regional Planning, Manchester

 • Tuesday, April 29, 4 to 6 p.m., Portsmouth Public Library

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