Article 25, Environmental Conservation Law Implementing Regulations - 6NYCRR Part 661
Tidal wetlands line much of the salt water shore, bays, inlets, canals, and estuaries of Long Island, New York City, and Westchester County. They also line the Hudson River in Westchester and Rockland Counties upstream to the salt line.
The tidal wetlands regulations apply anywhere tidal inundation occurs on a daily, monthly, or intermittent basis, including but not exclusively within the salt wedge. Vegetation in intertidal areas beyond the range of the salt wedge is classified as coastal fresh marsh.
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Values of Tidal Wetlands
Tidal wetlands are valued for:
- marine food production;
- wildlife habitat; flood, hurricane, and storm control;
- recreation; cleansing of ecosystems;
- absorption of silt and organic material;
- education and research opportunities; and
- aesthetic values.
Areas adjacent to tidal wetlands often carry many of the same or similar valuable attributes and, in addition, provide a valuable buffer for the wetlands.
New York Protects Tidal Wetlands
Certain kinds of human activities can adversely affect, and in some cases destroy, the delicate ecological balance of these important areas. The policy of New York State, as set forth in the Tidal Wetlands Act, is to preserve and protect these wetlands.
To implement this policy, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) administers the Tidal Wetlands Regulatory Program which is designed to prevent the despoliation and destruction of tidal wetlands by establishing and enforcing regulations that:
- Preserve, protect, and enhance the present and potential values of tidal wetlands;
- Protect the public health and welfare; and
- Give due consideration to the reasonable economic and social development of the state.
Wetlands are Mapped
Official tidal wetlands maps showing the exact locations of New York's regulated wetlands are on file at DEC regional offices in Regions 1, 2, and 3, and in the County Clerks' Offices of Nassau, Suffolk, Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens , Richmond, Rockland, and Westchester Counties. They are also available at local assessing agencies in these areas.
Regulation is based on the Tidal Wetlands Land Use Regulations (6NYCRR Part 661). The wetland categories used in these regulations are identified by the presence of a tide and the types of vegetation present. The categories of wetlands and the restrictions placed on activities in and around them are defined in detail in Part 661.
For further information concerning mapping of tidal wetlands visit the Tidal Wetland Mapping webpage.