Planner's Guide to Wetland Buffers for Local Governments

The upland area surrounding a wetland – the wetland buffer – is essential to its health and survival. Healthy wetlands and buffer areas provide important ecosystem services that help control flooding, protect water flows, conserve native plants and wildlife, and support nature-friendly land use and development.

Local governments are often better situated than state and federal environmental authorities to control activities on the lands that surround wetland resource areas, because they are not just concerned with wetland functions, but also with surrounding land uses and the benefits wetlands provide for their communities.

This guide produced by the Environmental Law Institute provides detailed examination of more than 50 enacted wetland buffer ordinances around the nation and nine model ordinances, as well as several hundred scientific studies and analyses of buffer performance.

In addition to identifying both the state-of-the-art and the range of current practice in protection of these important areas, the Guide provides what local governments need to know to manage land use and development when they consider enacting or amending a wetland buffer ordinance.

Download Planner’s Guide to Wetland Buffers for Local Governments
(PDF - 29 pages)

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