Wetlands board adds to waterway buffers

The Inland Wetlands Board added a definition for vegetation barriers to the town inland wetlands and watercourses regulations at its Tuesday, April 17, meeting. The approval adds the definition for riparian buffer zones — a “vegetated transitional area located between a natural stream/river or any lake/pond and land, which aids in protecting the watercourse/waterbody from the adjacent land use, thereby enhancing both the quality of water from stormwater runoff and reducing pollution.”

The language was added after the board received comments from the town Conservation Commission urging the board to regulate 15-foot buffer zones.

However, Inland Wetlands Agent Beth Peyser said that the state environmental protection agency had made it clear to the board that local regulations cannot regulate or enforce the buffer zones — only recommend them.

The wording was added in a unanimous vote of the six board members present. Three members of the nine-member board were absent that night.